In an intimate ceremony on Bagram Airfield Oct. 22, 2019, Army Maj. Mark Lojewski received one of the highest awards a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can receive – the Army Engineer Association's Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal.
The de Fleury Medal is a symbol of leadership and devotion to the engineering career field presented by the U.S. Army Engineer Association, to only a few Soldiers every year. The Bronze de Fleury Medal may be presented to an individual who has rendered significant service or support to an element of the Engineer Regiment.
Lojewski received his medal in recognition of his superior service to the USACE Afghanistan District while deployed. For the past year, he served in support of Operation FEEDOM'S SENTINEL and NATO’s RESOLUTE SUPPORT mission. His job title was long but telling: He was the Afghan Special Security Forces Program Manager and the Project Engineer for the NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan and the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan (NSOCC-A/SOJTF-A).
The major was nominated for the award by his boss, James (Jim) Root, who lauded Lojewski’s abilities as a subject matter expert in engineering but also his capabilities in the areas of facility operations and maintenance (O&M), base life support, and force protection – all services he provided to the Afghan Special Security Forces and other forces geographically located through the combined joint area of operations throughout Afghanistan.
Root said Lojewski acted as a vital link to NSOCC-A/SOJTF-A's overall mission accomplishment. “Mark coordinated project site visits with the Army Corps of Engineers and other entities. These site visits allowed USACE project engineers and project managers to engage in hands-on oversight for their project sites in remote areas that otherwise could not be visited due to security and logistics. By orchestrating this, Mark provided opportunity's for better quality assurance and contingency planning for issues that arose during construction. As the Engineer Advisor to our Afghan Security Facilities fund, he oversaw 26 separate projects and played an integral role in receiving funding for three additional projects,” Root said.
Additionally, according to Root, Lojewski effectively managed more than $78.5 million dollars in construction programs, and the operations and maintenance of more than 30 Afghan Special Security Forces locations throughout the country. “He also collaborated with individuals from the Ministries of Defense and Ministry of Interior as well as individuals in the Afghan military and police forces,” Root said. “His work resulted in better cooperation and collaboration between Afghan Special Security Forces and coalition partners, and significant enhancements to force protection, living accommodations and tactical requirements. This necessary support allowed our Afghan partners to better focus on essential and immediate tasks and missions.”
Root said the major’s most significant impact was his efforts to travel to every Afghan Special Security Forces construction site or future construction site to better understand the difficulties and to help synchronize engineering efforts among the various joint commands and teams in country, USACE, and Afghan Forces.
Named in honor of François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury – French Engineer in the Continental Army – the de Fleury Medal is an award of the U.S. Army Engineer Association honoring the French Engineer for his courage under fire at the 1779 battle at Stony Point, New York. During the battle to recapture the point, the Americans scrambled up the rocky slope with de Fleury in the lead. First over the wall, de Fleury rushed to the flagpole and cut the British colors from its staff. He bravery earned him the accolades of Congress.
For his heroic behavior, the Continental Congress awarded a medal struck in his honor. In addition to the Bronze award, the de Fleury Medal also comes in steel, silver and gold. The Engineer Regiment adopted the de Fleury Medal as an award because of the values demonstrated by the man for whom it was struck – values of special meaning to Engineer Soldiers.
"The de Fleury medal represents a couple of things. First, it means someone – a peer, a subordinate, or a superior – thought enough about you and your contributions to the Engineer Regiment to nominate you for this recognition. Next, it represents your dutiful service to the Regiment that went above and beyond,” said Lt. Col. Dan Hayden, the Afghanistan District deputy commander. “The Latin inscription on the front of the de Fleury reads, ‘A Memorial and Reward for Courage and Boldness.’ Those words typify the type of strong leader of character to which we expect every leader in the Regiment to aspire and Mark has clearly served the Regiment with both courage and boldness."