|Col. John ODowd (Photo by Andrew G. Wright for ENR)|
ODowd, who also serves as the staff engineer for Combined Forces Command Afghanistan, was on the job in Kabul, so he sent his father to the ceremony in New Brunswick. A New Jersey native, ODowd commanded the Corps of Engineers, New York District before his deployment to Afghanistan.
ODowd pre-recorded his acceptance speech. Here is the transcript:
Good evening. Im sorry I couldnt be there with you tonight. I know that this is always a nice event and during my time in New York District I enjoyed attending every year. Im really sorry this year that Im talking to you from Kabul, Afghanistan, and believe me Id rather be in Rutgers University, in Jersey, but its an honor for me to be able to talk to you tonight and to receive this award.
Id like to thank the association for thinking of me and Id also like to thank you for allowing my father to come and represent me this evening and accept this award. I was a little worried about him being able to talk to everyone without me having a chance for a rebuttal, so Im glad were able to work this out and at least give me the chance to say something. And Dad, Im sorry that Im probably speaking before you but hey, its my turn I guess.
Again, it is a pleasure and it is nice that my father is there because when I look at where I am today, having worked in the Army Corps for 26 years, I got started in construction with ODowd Plumbing and Heating almost 40 years ago. And what I learned about building and working hard I owe it to my father, his brothers and my grandfather. So its especially nice that hes there tonight to be able to represent me.
As far as what we are doing in the Corps, what were doing here in Afghanistan is what the Corps of Engineers does everywhere and thats providing for the security of the United States.
We talk about how the priorities of the country now since Sept. 11 are the global war on terror, economic security, homeland security and the environment. The Corps of Engineers is involved with that everyday. During my tenure there at New York District, for the three years I was there, that was what my job was.
We supported the global war on terror by constructing the military facilities from which our troops launch, and from which theyre supported. Right there in New Jersey, McGuire Air Force Base and Picatiny Arsenal were two of our major work areas.
We also supported economic security in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The $3-billion project which is important to the state of New Jersey, but is vital to the United States in that its an economic engine which drives the entire country.
As far as the environment goes there in New Jersey, I was fortunate to be able to work on restoration projects such as Liberty State Park, projects and studies in the middle lands and the Sag River. And unfortunately we were doing a quite of bit of environmental remediation - projects such as the Wayne FUSRAP Site, Maywood Chemical Insecticide, a number of these different sites where we were cleaning up for things that had been done in the past.
My job here in Afghanistan, day to day is a little bit different, but the purpose we serve here is the same. Were supporting daily the global war on terror.
The U.S. Forces that have been operating here in Afghanistan operate from bases in which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructs the facilities. Right now were repairing, well actually, building new runways at Kandahar Air Base in...ol. John B. ODowd couldnt be on hand Mar. 15 at Rutgers University to receive an award from the New Jersey chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies. ACEC named ODowd as its engineer of the year for his efforts for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as its Afghanistan Engineer District Commander and District Engineer.