- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division conducted a memorialization ceremony honoring Dr. Maged M. Hussein, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian who lost his life on Memorial Day of 2009 while deployed to Iraq. The ceremony, held on June 3, marked the official naming of building 332 on Camp Atterbury as the Dr. Maged Hussein Deployment Readiness Facility.
“As a Department of the Army Civilian, Dr. Hussein dedicated his life to using engineering to make the world better and he used his experience, expertise and passion for engineering to make an impact and improve the lives of those in need,” said U.S. Army Brigadier General Kimberly M. Colloton, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division commanding general, during her speech.
Hussein, an American of Egyptian descent, was a devout Muslim who sought a balance between and adeptly straddled the Middle Eastern and American cultures that shaped him.
He first came to the United States in 1986 for a short time under an exchange program introducing the next generation of leaders from across the globe to American culture and society.
Hussein returned to the United States a few years later, to attend graduate school at Ohio State University, earning his master’s and doctorate degrees in civil engineering. He decided to stay in the U.S. after graduate school and eventually went on to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Florida Everglades restoration project.
Hussain joined the Corps of Engineers’ Jacksonville District in December 2003, and was based at the Interagency Modeling Center in West Palm Beach. There, he worked as a computer modeler on dozens of projects for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
In July 2006, Hussein, who was fluent in Arabic, volunteered to serve as an advisor to the Iraqi Ministries of Water Resources and Environment. While there, he assisted in reconstructing water infrastructure and the construction of water treatment plants, sewer systems, irrigation and drainage systems and dams, contributing greatly to the Iraq reconstruction efforts.
Hussein was only 43 years old when he was killed in a roadside bomb attack in Fallujah, Iraq, on Memorial Day 2009 while visiting construction sites there.
Karen S. Pane, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers director of human resources and senior executive service, attended the memorialization ceremony honoring Dr. Hussein on behalf of Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, 55th Chief of Engineers and Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She expressed her sincere condolences and spoke of Hussein’s leadership and commitment to international engineering.
“More than 14,000 Corps civilian employees from every single Corps’ District, have volunteered for overseas deployments since 2001, representing a sizable portion of Army deployments; putting themselves into harm’s way to share their knowledge and make a tangible impact for the better. Dr. Maged Hussein embodied this and is a perfect representation of the Corps’ motto – Essayons, meaning ‘let us try’,” Pane said. “A renowned expert in water infrastructure, he chose to share his knowledge on the ground in Iraq where it was most needed in the world and could make the greatest impact.”
Michael Maxey, a retired U.S. Department of State civilian who was deployed with Hussein in 2009, also spoke at the ceremony. Maxey has more than 40 years of international development experience in West Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East and has helped ensure the legacy of Hussein is not forgotten.
“Dr. Maged Hussein was a friend and a colleague and I am blessed to be here today just to remember what happened and what we were doing and how he was part of it.” Maxey shared.
“He had a way of connecting with people,” Maxey said. “He was fluent in Arabic, spoke English without an accent, was a world-class water resource expert, but he had humility and a way of sincerity. He understood how important the water resource issue was in Iraq. We had $2.4B in projects. He was the major leader and spokesman with the Iraqi ministry of water resources. He was critical. He was crucial.
“One of the things I really understood and liked about Maged was his vision,” Maxey continued. “He understood and explained clearly what we were doing. And it was not to build a sewer system or an irrigation system. It was to promote grass roots democracy. It was to change a country that had not been changed. Maged Hussein was a visionary. He was a patriot.”
Maxey also shared memories and statements from a condolence book from the U.S. Embassy’s memorial ceremony for Hussein in 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq, where a plaque hangs in Hussein’s honor.
With over 36,000 civilian employees, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers delivers vital engineering services across the globe to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters. The expertise of the Corps’ world-class workforce is sought out worldwide to solve the toughest engineering challenges on the planet.
“Dr. Hussein volunteered to deploy to Iraq, the cradle of civilization, a place where water births, soothes, cools and nourishes people and provides the life to grow crops and irrigate fields,” Colloton said in her speech. “It means so much to the people and the environment.
“As a leader in the Corps of Engineers for many years now, I have deployed with and seen first-hand the tremendous impact professionals like Dr. Hussein and the thousands of other Corps of Engineer professionals have had on the lives of so many – they have truly made a difference.
“The loss of Dr. Hussein is still felt, the void is huge, but his legacy will not be forgotten,” Colloton continued. “With this building dedication, he will be remembered not only by those that knew him at the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of State, but he will touch all of those that go forth from here – those that volunteer to serve a purpose and mission greater than themselves – will read about Dr. Maged Hussein and his contributions will be an inspiration for many, many years to come.
The ceremony included the unveiling of the plaque which will hang alongside photos of Hussein in the front hallway of building 332, now the Dr. Maged Hussein Deployment Readiness Facility, and a moment of silence in remembrance of Hussein’s and his family’s sacrifice, followed by the unveiling of the building sign which will be seen by all who pass through Camp Atterbury and honor the legacy of Hussein’s service.
“Dr. Hussein spent his life showing us how far we can go. The lasting impacts he had on those he worked with – and those he worked tirelessly for – will be remembered and celebrated,” Colloton said. “And his name now will stand tribute here at Camp Atterbury as a testament to the service and sacrifice of a true civil servant.”
The Dr. Maged Hussein Deployment Readiness Facility memorialization ceremony was a part of a larger ceremony hosted by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Gary M. Brito, deputy chief of staff G-1 and Brig. Gen. R. Dale Lyles, Indiana Adjutant General at the MG R. Martin Umbarger Conference Center, at Camp Atterbury, Ind., June 3, 2021, in honor of Army and DoD Expeditionary Civilian personnel.
In addition to Dr. Maged Hussein, other personnel honored during the overall ceremony included: Anthony Acerra, a Department of Defense civilian killed in Afghanistan in 2011 while serving during Operation Enduring Freedom (Bldg. 440: Anthony Acerra Central Issue Facility); Krissie K. Davis, a Defense Logistics Agency employee killed in Afghanistan in 2015 while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (Bldg. 349: Krissie K. Davis Administration and Operations); Michael G. Sauro, killed in Afghanistan in 2016 while serving during Operation Freedom’s Sentinel (Bldg. 444: Michael G. Sauro Mobilization and Training Facility); and Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Spc. Ross A. McGinnis, killed in Iraq in 2006 while serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom (Bldg. 349: U.S. Army Spc. Ross A. McGinnis Conference Room).