My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 9, 2021

Announcing the 2020 Society of American Military Engineers Awards Winners

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

Bravo Zulu to the winners of the 2020 Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Awards recipients for making outstanding contributions to the Coast Guard Civil Engineering (CE) program and advancing the 2017-2021 Shore Infrastructure Program goals and objectives. 

The SAME builds leaders and leads collaboration among government and industry to develop multi-disciplined solutions to national security infrastructure challenges.

Lt. John Houk, facility engineer at Base Charleston, received the Oren Medal for outstanding contributions to military engineering. Houk was essential to the success of the exceptionally complex land exchange with South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and during the course of negotiations was the face of the Coast Guard while dealing with numerous state and federal agencies.

Wayne Barnes at the Base Portsmouth Public Works Division received the Sargent Medal for outstanding contributions to civil engineering or facilities engineering. Barnes is responsible for maintaining 364 real property assets, worth $235 million, with 482,000 square feet of building, and 4,031 equipment items. Through his work he increased the Base Unaccompanied Personnel housing using trailers to create a critical space of more than 200 cutter personnel requiring quarantine to support Atlantic Area's fleet readiness.

The Cowart Plaque Award is for most outstanding Coast Guard facilities engineering and civil engineering units went to:

  • Facility Design and Construction Center (FDCC), which managed a significantly larger than normal portfolio of 58 projects valued at $1.69 billion in 2020.
  • Base Honolulu Facilities Engineering Division (FED). Base Honolulu maintains over 50% of the entire District 14 shore plant, and despite reduced staffing due to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, achieved an average rate of 96.4% for on time Operational Level Maintenance Completion. 

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees. For a full description of each award and past recipients, visit