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Left and right: Then Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Col. Michael Teague awards retired Lt. Col. John Teague (his father) with the ‘de Fleury Medal,’ an honorable recognition established by the U.S. Army Engineer Regiment. Center: Teague and his wife, Dawn, at the Tulsa District Change of Command ceremony in July 2013. Courtesy photos


Carrying On a Legacy Teague was born in Maine to a family of three children. His father, retired


Lt. Col. John Teague, dedicated his career to being a facility engineer for the U.S. Army. Teague confesses that watching his dad from a young age gave him inspiration and the spark to a dream. “Dad has forever been my hero,” he said. “Since fourth grade I knew what I wanted to do because I admired him.” Teague grew up watching his father closely. As a young boy, he enjoyed


fi nding solutions to problems. Math and science were his subjects of choice in school. An army brat, Teague attended multiple schools throughout the United States. In fi rst grade, he attended three schools as the family changed posts. During his high school years, he also attended three schools, fi nally claiming his high school diploma in southern Georgia. He went on to pursue his undergraduate degree at Norwich University in Vermont. The birthplace of the Reserve Offi cers’ Training Corps (ROTC), Norwich University was Teague’s stepping stone to establishing his career as an army engineer. While on ROTC scholarship, Teague received a degree in Civil Engineering; when he was not intensely studying, he found time to play soccer and ski. His years at Norwich were crucial for him. During his freshman year, he met the love of his life, Dawn. The couple got engaged during Teague’s junior year in college and married in June of 1985. Dawn became pregnant in September, and in October the Teagues were off to Germany for their fi rst overseas assignment in the U.S. Army. During their time in the Army, Teague went back to school twice. He earned a master’s degree from the Naval Post Graduate School in Operations Research and later attended the Naval War College, earning a master’s degree in National Security Strategies. “I went from very technical undergraduate and graduate degrees to a non-


technical degree, focusing on policy issues,” Teague said, referring to his degree in National Security Strategies. Michael and Dawn have three children—Courtney, 27, Kaitlin, 24, and Jake, 21. As an Army family, the Teagues moved frequently. “Before 9/11 we always moved as a family. We went to places like Germany,


Kentucky, Virginia and Colorado,” Teague said. “After 9/11 instead of moving as family, I deployed without them. From the years of 2001 to 2010, I was gone a total of fi ve years.” Teague served as the director of engineering for the Third U.S. Army/Army


Central (ARCENT), a position in which he supported all U.S. Army units in the Middle East. He served as the commander for the 52nd Engineer Battalion in Fort Carson, Colo., and in Mosul, Iraq. As battalion commander, Teague led a 600-person engineering and construction organization in support of the 101st Airborne Division as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. A painting entitled The Command Team by Don Stivers hangs in Teague’s


offi ce. “I commanded a construction battalion in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. This painting portrays those units. They’re Active Duty soldiers, National Guard


16 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


soldiers and Army Reserve soldiers,” he explained with pride. Teague took a slightly different career path from his father, who was a facility engineer. In his case, Teague worked with many facets of engineering including combat, construction, road paving, facility and disaster response engineering. His fi nal assignment was as Tulsa District commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and he relinquished command in July 2013. The United States Army Engineer Regiment puts forth an award program to honor and recognize individuals who have provided outstanding contribu- tions to Army engineering. The “de Fleury Medal” is given to the recipients of this honorable recognition.


Life has its surprises, and in an amazing demonstration of what we like to call “the circle of life,” Col. Michael Teague presented the “de Fleury Medal” to his own father last July. “It was a very touching moment,” Teague said, his eyes sparkling as he re- membered the special day. In Teague’s journey, every step he took created a foundation for what was to come. It was no different with his experience at the Corps of Engineers.


Energy and Environment Training Grounds In the Tulsa District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Teague managed


700 employees in engineering, construction and operations, while administer- ing a $700 million annual budget. The Corps of Engineers focuses on three main operations: military con- struction, civil works and environmental programs. Dealing with those three components is part of the ample experience Teague brings to the table as new secretary of energy and environment—but, in truth, he brings much more than that. “He is an outstanding leader. Col. Teague has a candid ability to bring di- verse and competing interests together to fi nd common-sense solutions,” said John Roberts, who has been the deputy district engineer at the Tulsa District since 1995. “He exemplifi es Army values such as honor, integrity, respect and high morals for the people.” The Tulsa District includes 38 multipurpose lakes and fi ve locks and dams on the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. Roberts explained several parties have diverse interests in how the water should be managed ranging from hydropower, recreation, water supply, fl ood control, navigation, and fi sh and wildlife habitats. “Bringing these various groups together to manage water resources was a


signifi cant challenge, and Teague did that well,” Roberts said. “As secretary, I believe we will see a positive impact on diverging interests working together.”


As completion of his assignment neared at the Tulsa District, Teague con- templated either pursuing a position at an engineering fi rm or enjoying retire- ment with his wife Dawn. Their plan was to remain in Oklahoma. But a call from the governor’s offi ce in late summer 2013 changed everything for Teague and Dawn.


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