This is the 34th in a series about graduates from Mountain Valley High School who are serving our country in the military.
Two big brothers in the Marines, “playing army” as a child and a desire to honorably serve his country led Terry Stewart to nearly 20 years of service in the U. S. Army. He graduated from Mountain Valley High School in 1991.
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Stewart is currently on active duty and stationed at Fort Shafter, HI.
As a MVHS graduate, enlisting in the military wasn’t in the game plan but after a few twists and turns, that’s where he ended up.
LTC Stewart explained his motivation to enlist, “As a child, I always enjoyed playing “army” with my friends. I’ve always been an outdoors person and wanted a certain level of excitement in my life. I have two brothers who served in the Marine Corps. When I was in elementary and middle school I looked up to them and their service and always thought that I would follow in their footsteps. I had no intentions on joining the Army when I attended college at the University of Maine.”
He continued, “During my first year of college I decided to join the Maine Army National Guard. I served in the National Guard for my first two years in college. When I was signing up for classes during my junior year in college, I noticed a class in military science through the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). I decided to talk to the ROTC recruiter and eventually signed up for the ROTC program. It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I realized that I wanted to obtain an active duty commission in the U.S. Army. I was selected as an Active Duty Engineer Officer during my senior year. I have been serving on active duty since 1996.”
He graduated from the University of Maine in 1995 with a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant the same year. He continued his education and earned a Masters Degree in Engineer Management in 2001 from the University of Missouri at Rolla.
On his way to his current post in Hawaii, LTC Stewart has been stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Fort Lewis, WA; Fort Leavenworth, KS; and Fort Bragg, NC. His overseas stations included Seoul, South Korea and deployments to Saudi Arabia, two tours of duty in Iraq and a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Through his journey, his skills as an engineer and a Soldier have grown. He has served at every echelon from platoon to Army Service Component Command (ASCC) level, where he is currently serving as an engineer staff officer.
LTC Stewart said, “My current job is as the Chief of Engineer Operations for the United States Army Pacific primarily responsible for the planning, coordinating, and execution of engineer operations across the Pacific theater to include combat engineering, general engineering, topographic engineering, and horizontal and vertical construction activities.”
For the non-engineer, combat engineering involves breaching complex obstacles on the battlefield in support of tactical maneuver forces, constructing fighting positions, fixed and float bridges and placing and detonating explosives, to name a few duties. Topographic engineering provide information about the lay of the land. It includes terrain analysis and mapping. Horizontal engineering includes the construction of roads, combat trails, airfields, and clearing and grubbing operations using heavy equipment like bulldozers, scrapers and graders. Vertical engineering involves constructing buildings and includes skills such as plumbing, carpentry, masonry, electrical and facility design.
Like other soldiers, he has a message for civilians and former military members.
LTC Stewart said, “Over the past 13 years, America’s sons and daughters have fought continuously in the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other regions of the world. We are forever grateful for the support that the American citizens have shown for the military and most importantly for our wounded warriors and Gold Star Families. Although not currently in the forefront of the media, men and women continue to sacrifice in the Global War on Terrorism in lands far away. I ask that you keep those in harm’s way in your thoughts and prayers.”
He added, “Continue to celebrate the lives of those that have given the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this great nation.”
LTC Stewart has also found time for a personal life. He and his wife Jung Ja Stewart have been married for 15 years. They met during his first tour in South Korea in 1998 when he was volunteering as an English tutor for the local citizens in Seoul. They are parents to two sons, 13-year-old Justin and 12-year-old Dylan.
LTC Stewart explained, “Being a military family, we’ve experienced multiple relocations and changes in lifestyle. Frequent changes in schools, meeting new neighbors in new communities, and all the adjustments that come with life changes have made our family resilient. We cherish family time by enjoying the outdoors, staying involved in community activities, and trying to live life to its fullest.”
LTC is the son of Joyce and Clifford Stewart of Mexico. His Marine brothers are Clifford and Richard Stewart of Mexico. His sister, Wendy McDonald, also resides in Mexico.