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Army promotes Swansea, Mass. native to major

Published Jan. 31, 2012

GALVESTON, Texas (Jan. 31, 2012) – For most New Englanders, being out on the water in the middle of January is usually a cold and unpleasant experience.  However, for Swansea, Mass. native Maj. Greg Couturier, the water was exactly where he wanted to be as he began the newest phase of his Army career.

Greg Couturier was promoted to the rank of major during a ceremony on an air boat in Wallisville, Texas, on Jan. 11. Couturier is currently serving with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Galveston District as a project manager and is in charge of four projects in South Texas.

Recently promoted to the rank of major, Couturier is certainly no stranger to the Army.

“Initially, I enlisted in the Army because I needed a challenge in my life and I also needed college money,” said Couturier,  “but, the Army became so much more than that.”

Couturier credits the Army with providing him an opportunity to work as a team and to experience esprit de corps throughout his first four years while enlisted, which he says left a lasting impression on him.

“As much as I enjoyed the Army, I promised my mother I would go to college,” said Couturier. “While I was in college, I saw cadets from the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and again wanted that feeling of brotherhood.”

Couturier earned a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering, a Bachelor of Arts in German and a Master of Business Adminstration at the University of Rhode Island, in addition to becoming commissioned as an Army officer.

“I chose ocean engineering because I grew up on the water and wanted to stay near it somehow,” said Couturier. “The German degree was more out of curiosity and both degrees were offered together in a program called the International Engineering Program.”

Couturier says he chose to earn an MBA as more of a career-building decision. 

“The Army offered me the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree and raise my first child around the vicinity of my parents and in-laws – typically not an easy feat,” said Couturier.

In June 2011, Couturier deployed to Joplin, Mo., as the deputy commander for the Joplin Recovery Field Office to assist with the recovery efforts in the aftermath of the devastating tornado disaster.

"As the deputy, I was responsible for making sure staff had everything they needed to operate as a team to accomplish the recovery mission," said Couturier.  "In the case of Joplin, the recovery field office staff supported three planning and response teams; debris removal, critical public facilities and temporary housing."

The debris removal team worked to help remove an estimated more than two million cubic yards of debris caused by the tornado. Additionally, the team had established two temporary fire stations, eight temporary schools, and set up a temporary hospital as the tornado had destroyed St. John's Regional Medical Center.

“A career as an officer isn’t quite the same experience as that of an enlisted Soldier,” said Couturier, “the responsibilities and rewards are much greater.”

Although Couturier has already achieved a lot during his career, he credits his success to the support of his wife, Laura, and his children, John and Emily.

“Laura has been with me for nine of the 13 years I’ve served in the Army,” said Couturier. “Although the accomplishments for making the promotions are mine, it is the support of my wife and family that have allowed me to accomplish my goals.”

Couturier earned three Bronze Stars, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Gulf War on Terrororism Expeditionary Medal with Arrow Head, in addition to the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign medals.

To learn more about the USACE Galveston District, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.