Baghdad, Iraq -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers compound on Camp Victory, Iraq, was officially designated Camp Wolfe on Oct. 22 in honor of Navy Cmdr. Duane Wolfe. Wolfe was the officer-in-charge of the Al-Anbar Area Office, killed when an improvised explosive device struck the vehicle he was riding in on May 25 outside of Fallujah, Iraq. Also killed in the ensuing explosion were Terry Barnich, deputy director of U.S. State Department's Iraqi Transition and Assistance Office and Dr. Maged Hussin, director of the Office of Water Resources, Public Works and the Environment at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
The designation ceremony was hosted by the USACE Gulf Region Division and broadcast live via the internet to Wolfe's family and friends in Los Osos, CA.
Maj. General Michael R. Eyre, commanding general of the USACE Gulf Region Division, told the guest at the ceremony that Cmdr. Wolfe was "a force for stability, hope and trust among the Iraqi people. His death was a tremendous loss not only for Gulf Region Division, but also for the people he was so determined to assist."
Col. Dan Anninos, commander of the Gulf Region District, said that the designation is a lasting tribute to Cmdr. Wolfe's commitment and accomplishments. Anninos told the guests that, "Camp Wolfe is an enduring camp, charged to execute our reconstruction mission that Cmdr. Wolfe was such integral part...He was a father, a husband, a son and a sailor, who loved life and loved those around him. I recognize that this may be of little comfort to his wife Cindi and many others, but please know we will never forget as evident of today's ceremony and that our grateful nation will also never forget as we honor those that have given their lives for our freedom."
Cindi Wolfe, who was able to participate in the ceremony via the Internet, told the guests that "much like so many of you here today, Cmdr. Wolfe was a builder of both roads and freedom; an engineer of bridges and peace; a man of faith and honor. It was my great good fortune to have spent the past 34 years building a warm home and a loving family with this fine man."
Congresswoman Lois Capps from Wolfe's home district, in an address on the floor of Congress soon after the incident, said, "Words can't describe the loss felt throughout the South and Central Coasts by Cmdr. Wolfe's death. By those who knew him best, he is remembered as a dedicated husband and father with a clever wit, strong sense of work ethic and kindness toward those in need."
The mood of the event was best summed up in a poem written by Sarah Eilts, the daughter of a Ted Eilts the former Chief of Engineering for the Gulf Region District and read by Maj. Gen. Eyre at the ceremony.
You set off to serve your country,
you didn't know the cost,
but now that you have left us,
we all know what we have lost.
We've lost a brave man,
who in protecting us did pass,
we've lost a good man
but his memory will last.
As the Officer-in-Charge of the Al-Anbar Area Office, Cmdr. Wolfe was responsible for 59 personnel including U.S. military, government civilians and local Iraqi nationals working at the area office and three resident offices. His staff was responsible for overseeing nearly $300 million in planned and ongoing construction projects, many of which are providing essential services to the Iraqi people. Projects included the first-ever waste water treatment facility in Fallujah, an Iraqi Army location command, an Iraqi judicial complex and a132 kilovolt substation in Ramadi.
Cmdr. Wolfe was an activated Navy reservist with the Navy Operational Support Center, Port Hueneme, CA, and a Department of the Air Force civilian employee at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1958. He attended Hueneme High School in Oxnard, CA and joined the U.S. Navy after graduating in 1972. Cmdr. Wolfe served five years on active duty and joined the Navy Reserve in 1978. He received his commission in the Naval Reserve in 1995 having graduated from California Polytechnic Institute with a B.S. degree in Construction Engineering.
Cmdr. Wolfe posthumously received the Bronze Star with "V" Device with Valor; Purple Heart; Combat Action Ribbon; National Defense Service Medal with Service Star; Iraqi Campaign Medal; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device for Mobilization; Overseas Service Ribbon; and the Combat Action Badge.
Cmdr. Wolfe is survived by wife Cindi and daughters Carrie and Katie and son Evan.
The USACE compound at Camp Liberty was established in September 2004 and has been referred to as the "Castle Gate" compound. The name was derived from a suggestion from Ms. Hunter Logan, an employee at the camp, who thought that the top of the walls surrounding the compound resembled those of a castle.
The Gulf Region Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. government and the government of Iraq. Since 2004, GRD has completed more than 5,300 projects throughout Iraq valued at $9.1 billion, and has 361 projects ongoing.