Army Engineer Association honors Milford resident

Milford resident Col. Domenick Garzone was presented the Army Engineer Association's De Fleury Medal for his service and leadership as an Army engineer during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command headquarters on Aug. 6.

"This is the pinnacle of an engineer officer's career," Garzone said. "I am ecstatic to receive this award — a recognition for outstanding contributions to the Corps, by my peers after serving in the Corp of Engineers."

The medal is named after Francois-Louis Telssèdre de Fleury, a French engineer in the American Continental Army. The silver award is presented to an individual who has rendered outstanding support and service to the regiment.

With more than 30 years of service in the Army and the Corp of Engineers, Garzone worked in Kosovo and Afghanistan before coming to USASOC as the reserve component deputy engineer for Senior Engineer Plans & Operations.

"Col. Garzone has been an outstanding engineer his entire career," said Col. Stephen Baker, a recipient of both the silver and bronze De Fleury Medal and former director of engineers at USASOC. "His contributions to the regiment and here at USASOC, and everywhere else he has served, have been outstanding and significant."

Baker said it's Garzone's training and knowledge that sets him apart from other engineers and has led to his success in his career field.

"He is one of the few guys who have an extraordinary deep knowledge of technical engineering, both mechanical and electrical, that allows him to be an asset anywhere he's at," Baker said. "Here at USASOC, he knows this building (built in 1989) better than anyone, which is important for what we do in 2015. Having somebody with his depth of knowledge to keep this building running and keep us going 24-7 in all types of situations takes a person like Col. Garzone who can quickly analyze and get after a problem with the help of contractors."

Of the many accomplishments in his career, Garzone remembers his work in Afghanistan as the area engineer and officer in charge for the Herat district. Along with building garrisons and barracks for Afghan troops and police, Garzone helped establish mechanical, electrical and control system standards for the Afghan engineering community.

He also recognized a need for proper training. Working with Herat University's dean of engineering, he assisted in developing a curriculum in mechanical (heating, ventilation, air conditioning or HVAC) engineering.

He again worked with the dean to establish a student branch chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). He sponsored 50 Afghan students and 14 faculty members into the society and worked to create a professional library. Garzone said the happiest moment in Afghanistan was when they received the approved charter in 2008.

"It was an unbelievable accomplishment," he said. "To give them a student chapter charter from an American professional society was worth every moment of effort."

Baker lauded Garzone's efforts. "I know that everywhere I was over there, there was nobody doing the type of things that he was doing in terms of trying to get some education, standards and international recognition through universities to Afghan engineers," Baker said. "They were leaps and bounds behind other countries in that regard and the fact that he was able to do that through Herat University was one of those outstanding contributions that he is being recognized for."

Helping and teaching people is what Garzone strives for in his career and life. He said he fully believes those with experience should pass down their knowledge.

"In our career field, it (mentorship) is critical," he said. "Getting real world knowledge, not the technical, theoretical knowledge from textbooks, but the actual, what is out there, set me up for success for the rest of my career."

Garzone thanks former mentors, coworkers and former Kosovo and Afghanistan friends for their support throughout his career. He said that it was their sharing of knowledge that helped him to achieve this honor.

He has a challenge for those entering the engineer field: "I would say to the upcoming young professional engineer soldiers and civilians, find good mentors and learn your trade well, always take notice of your surroundings and seek ways to improve the human condition. There are plenty of opportunities.”