Deputy Commander Receives Legion of Merit

Published June 23, 2010
Col. Ron Light (left) congratulates Lt. Col. Donald Johantges after presenting the Legion of Merit.

Middle East District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Donald E. Johantges received the Legion of Merit during an informal farewell dinner June 18. MED Commander Col. Ron Light presented the award.

The Legion of Merit is a U. S. military decoration awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements; Johantges was recognized for his exceptionally meritorious service as an engineer during 24 years of military service.

Johantges has served in troop units, component commands and joint forces within the continental United States and abroad. His years in the uniform culminated as MED’s deputy commander. Headquartered in Winchester, Va., MED provides engineering, construction, and related reach-back services in the Middle East, Central Asia, and other areas as required.

After receiving the Legion of Merit, Lt. Col. Donald E. Johantges talks to the staff gathered for his farewell dinner June 18.
As MED deputy commander beginning in July 2007, Johantges was responsible for support to Corps of Engineers operations within the region and for overseeing all business support organizations within the headquarters. While focused on supporting U.S. Central Command and friendly foreign governments with design and construction of more than $2 billion annually across 20 countries, his time at MED also included a one-year assignment from 2008 to 2009 as acting commander during Light’s deployment to Iraq.


According to the award citation, Johantges’ contributions directly supported national and international strategic objectives and positively affected security and stability in the Middle East.

Other career highlights included a tour as deputy commander for the Corps’ San Francisco District, ensuring the San Francisco Bay remained navigable and important regional and national civil works projects proceeded as scheduled. While assigned to NATO in both Belgium and Afghanistan, Johantges led the effort to plan and construct NATO facilities, immeasurably affecting the ability of NATO and US forces to achieve success during Operation Enduring Freedom.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Johantges graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1986. He has a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Maryland and is a certified Project Management Professional. His military education includes the Combined Arms Services Staff School and the Command and General Staff Officer Course.

Later this summer, Johantges will become the chief of the Military Integration Division at the Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division in Cincinnati.

Among his other military awards and decorations are the Bronze Star, three awards of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, two awards of the Army Commendation Medal, three awards of the Army Achievement Medal, and the Parachutist Badge.

Release no. 13-036