Former New York District Commander has Military Dining Facility Dedicated in his Honor in Afghanistan

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On August 15, 2010 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineer District-North, dedicated its new dining facility to Col. John B. O’Dowd who served as commander from July 2004-2005 and recently passed away in January 2010

Col. John B. O’Dowd

It’s fitting we should dedicate this building to a distinguished Army leader and former New York District commander. John O’Dowd earned this honor through a career of selfless service to our nation.

On August 15, 2010 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineer District-North, dedicated its new dining facility to Col. John B. O’Dowd who served as commander from July 2004-2005 and recently passed away in January 2010. His leadership set the course for the thousands of personnel who followed and shared the mission. The Afghanistan District is responsible for a comprehensive infrastructure program for the reception and training of recruits, and subsequent stabilization of up to 70,000 soldiers of the Afghanistan National Army. The program includes construction, rehabilitation and refurbishment of barracks, dining facilities, administration centers, clinics, motor pools, multipurpose training ranges, and support facilities.

It also includes construction of a military hospital, military academy, entrance processing station, and training center. The District is also building new facilities for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and providing technical and mentoring support to USAID and other federal agencies. In addition to serving as commander of the District, Col. O'Dowd was also the Staff Engineer for Combined Force Command-Afghanistan. In this capacity, he oversaw all engineering activity for the Department of Defense including construction of roads, bridges and forward operating bases.

“It’s fitting we should dedicate this building to a distinguished Army leader and former New York District commander,” said Col. John Boulé, commander, New York District Corps of Engineers. “John O’Dowd earned this honor through a career of selfless service to our nation.”

Prior to his position in Afghanistan, Col. O'Dowd served as commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, where he oversaw the Corps' water resource development, navigation, and regulatory activities in northeastern New Jersey, eastern and south-central New York, including New York Harbor and Long Island, and parts of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

He accepted this posting just two months prior to the 9/11 attacks, which took place a few blocks from New York District’s Lower Manhattan headquarters, and was a leader of the city’s initial response and recovery efforts, including removal and disposal of 1.6 million tons of debris. He oversaw construction and management of the facility at the Fresh Kills Landfill to sift through the debris for human remains and personal effects.

"This dedication means a lot to those of us who worked side-by-side with Col. O'Dowd. I had the distinct honor at the New York District, and during rescue and recovery operations after 9/11 and to this day still marvel at the leadership, courage, compassion, and composure exhibited by Col. O'Dowd during those trying times" said Joe Seebode, deputy district engineer. "Col. O'Dowd was a hero to us all and I will always treasure our friendship through the years."

"Col. O'D still lives on in our hearts. He was a charismatic, affable, inspiring leader and close friend, and the glue that held us together during 9/11,” said retired civilian Peter Shugert, who served as Col. O’Dowd’s chief of public affairs during his tenure at New York District. “He was a leader among men, and a 4-star General to us who served with him.”

Col. O’Dowd’s military awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, Afghan Campaign Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Master Parachutist Badge.

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Ken Wells
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
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