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Veteran’s Day Spotlight: John Conaway, PE

November 11, 2014
John Conaway - 1966

John Conaway – 1966

Terra-Petra’s Professional Engineer (PE Civil) and Vietnam Veteran, John R. Conaway has over 40 years of experience in project supervision, development, evaluation, training, and safety. He has earned a reputation for his expertise in design and inspection of methane mitigation systems and waterproofing for commercial and residential structures. John has worked with solid waste disposal, environmental engineering, managing road and facility maintenance and construction, permitting, project engineering and design in California, Nevada, and North Carolina.

This impressive and expansive career track started when John received a draft notice in late 1965, when the military presence started to increase in Viet Nam. On July 28, 1965, during a noontime press conference, President Johnson announced that he would send 44 additional combat battalions to Vietnam increasing the U.S. military presence to 125,000 men. Monthly draft calls were doubled from 17,000 to 35,000. “I have asked the commanding general, General Westmoreland, what more he needs to meet this mounting aggression,” Johnson said. “…we will meet his needs. We cannot be defeated by force of arms. We will stand in Vietnam.”

He further commented “…I do not find it easy to send the flower of our youth, our finest young men, into battle. I have spoken to you today of the divisions and the forces and the battalions and the units, but I know them all, every one. I have seen them in a thousand streets, of a hundred towns, in every state in this union-working and laughing and building, and filled with hope and life. I think I know, too, how their mothers weep and how their families sorrow.”

Instead of going into the army, as he had expected, John went into the US Marine Corps, and served from Jan. 1966 to Jan. 1968. He received his training at Camp Pendleton, California, and was later transferred to Camp Lejeune, NC. One of the highlights of his service was being selected to run the supply department on a 3-month “Caribbean cruise.” During the cruise, his ship broke down, allowing him to spend several weeks in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The photo,of John above was taken after during war games in November 1966 on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. He achieved the rank of sergeant in 18 months, which was a record time for getting to the rank of E-5.

Although he came close several times, John was able to avoid being sent to fight on the front lines in Vietnam, although he is still considered a Vietnam-era vet.

 

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