By Cheryl MooreDecember 18, 2018
Mr. John E. Drake II, distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious service as the Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management Directorate (PPMD) during his volunteer deployment to the Afghanistan District in support of Operation FREEDOM'S SENTINEL from July 31, 2017 through his redeployment to CONUS mid- December.
This Arizona native led a vibrant team of civilian and military program managers, administrative and support team members in the planning and execution of Military, International, and Interagency programs and projects.
As the senior consultant and advisor to the District Commander, Col. Jason E. Kelly, he led the District's leadership, providing management guidance and direction, advice and/ or decisions on policy matters, continuity of corporate leadership, interfaced with potential and existing customers, officials of host nations, along with ministerial, provincial, local authorities, the public and other agencies and commissions.
Under his leadership, the District's execution for new awards increased to more than $300M and increased the overall District support to more than $1B. The District awarded 28 construction projects valued at more than $150M which provided power infrastructure to Afghanistan as part of the national grid, training and operations facilities for national security forces (military and police), and coalition force engineer expertise for theater installation life support requirements.
He oversaw the District's continued commitment to the Whole of Government implementation of the Power Program working with USFOR-A, Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan (CSTC-A), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to complete the Vision 2020 National Power Electrical Grid.
Drake was also responsible for Presidential Women's Participation Program (WPP) for both the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP).
The program of 27 projects worth more than $97.5M will provide billeting, daycare and other facilities for Afghan Women on existing ANA and ANP bases, increasing recruiting and leading to more combat ready Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) formations.
Drake made the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) relevant to USFOR-A, CSTC-A, and other agencies in Afghanistan.
He placed Project Managers forward to increase/improve coordination with the Train, Advise, and Assist Commands, Coalition Engineers, and other stakeholders.
To better support CSTC-A's and the ANDSF Operation and Maintenance (O&M) mission, Drake coordinated with reach back to bring forward the Project Management and Contracting Officer/Specialist responsibilities for the high visibility Generator Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) program, as well as set the stage for similar responsibilities for the Power Generation, Water and Wastewater Treatment, and Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration BPAs.
These actions increased program visibility and responsiveness, and overall improved support to the ANDSF.
These individual distinctive accomplishments earned Drake the Superior Civilian Service Award, along with the NATO medal and will forever reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Forces-Afghanistan, the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Army.