WIESBADEN, Germany — After more than 5 years as the most senior civilian leader for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, John Adams said farewell during a COVID-19 compliant ceremony here Oct. 15.
He began his tour as the Deputy for Programs and Project Management (DPM) in 2015, during which time led a team that oversaw a cumulative $6 billion program that delivered infrastructure, engineering, real estate and general services in support of U.S. National security interests in the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) areas of responsibility.
During his farewell remarks, Adams took great care to first highlight the nearly 1,000 different professionals with whom he’s crossed paths during his tour, to include leaders, project managers and support staff alike, all of whom have contributed to the District’s important mission.
“You have mentored three commanders, three deputy commanders, all of our military….and on behalf of each of them, I want to thank you for all that you’ve done for us,” said Col. Pat Dagon, Europe District Commander.
Europe District oversees approximately 300 construction projects per year in 46 countries across Europe, Israel, and Africa. From managing critical projects, multiple partners, and the complexity associated with working in so many countries, none of the District’s missions happen without its dedicated employees, said Adams.
“It all goes back to people and the consummate professionals of this great team,” he said.
Adams also pointed towards a special component of the workforce, the District’s host nation and foreign national employees, who represent key stability among a constantly changing workforce.
“I want to thank our host nation employees. They are key continuity of the District Program who are not only dedicated to the mission, but are also advocates for the communities we serve.”
If people are the lifeblood of the District, its mission – delivering for the warfighter and their families – represent its primary purpose, said Adams.
Among the key programs and projects that Adams supported during his tour includes the District’s efforts on the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement project in Landstuhl, Germany. This $1.2 billion 985,000-square-foot military medical center at Ramstein Air Base will include nine operating rooms, 68 hospital beds, 120 exam rooms and contingency-surge capacity to 93 beds. Approximately 2,500 people will be employed at the new medical center.
While the project scope is impressive, Adams again underscores the professional healthcare workers as the primary reason for why the District is working so hard to deliver this program.
“You may not know this, but folks being medevac’d into the hospital have a 99 percent survival rate. That’s incredible, and that’s a testament to the great surgeons in that facility,” said Adams.
He also highlighted the District’s support to the Department of Defense Educational Activity. This current $1.46 billion program began in 2010, and it includes 27 total projects spanning 21 schools and DoDEA facilities and has a positive impact on more than 16,000 students per year.
“We completed 7 schools [since I’ve been here], with 6 more under construction…and we aren’t going to stop.”
The District also completed the construction of two Navy bases, one in Romania in 2016 and one in Poland that was turned over in June 2020, all in support of the Aegis Ashore weapons complexes for missile defense.
Finally, Adams acknowledged the many other projects in remote locations throughout the region that may not have the same banner headlines but have equally, if not more, strategic importance, to include schools, health clinics, and other critical humanitarian assistance projects for EUCOM and AFRICOM.
At the heart of his message was that his job is all about people – the workforce, partners, and stakeholders, which was evident in comments by others, including previous commanders.
“Your care for the District and its people and their families was always at the forefront of your actions, and you clearly know the District is truly defined by its workforce,” wrote Col. Matthew Tyler, Europe District Commander from 2014-2017 in a letter read during the farewell ceremony.
“I consider this the best job I ever had,” said Adams.
Adams is now transitioning into Senior Executive Service and assigned as the Director for Programs and Business with the Corps’ Transatlantic Division, based out of Winchester, Virginia.