Retired Col. Mitchell Passini, who lives in Rolla, was recently awarded the Silver Order of the De Fleury Medal for his exemplary service as an engineer in the Missouri Army National Guard.
Passini was grateful to receive the medal while attending the 35th Engineer Brigade Engineer Ball at Lodge of the Four Seasons.
“I’m very honored and humbled to receive this award because they obviously don’t give out too many of those,” said Passini, who retired after 32 years of service in June of 2011. “There are just so many great engineers that I’ve worked with in the 35th Engineer Brigade – officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted – that really have a lot more engineer knowledge than I do. I’m not sure exactly what I did to deserve this, but obviously I made an impression.”
The silver medal is awarded to an individual who has rendered outstanding and significant support or service to the Engineer Regiment.
“I think this award is kind of a culmination of my engineer career,” said Passini, who served his final 16 years as a Missouri National Guard engineer officer.
“This is kind of a validation that things you did throughout your career were the right things and maybe helped influence people in a positive way.”
On active-duty, Passini’s first 16 years of service were as an infantry enlisted Soldier and eventually an officer.
Brig. Gen. Randy Alewel, the former brigade commander and current joint force land component commander, at Ike Skelton Training Site in Jefferson City, said Passini was deserving of the award because he overachieved as a Missouri Guard engineer officer.
“His expertise in engineering and the things that he’s accomplished, including multiple deployments, far exceeded what many people have completed throughout their careers,” Alewel said. “The Silver De Fleury is indicative of those who have contributed to the engineer regiment and its Soldiers. It goes to someone who has done whatever it takes to make us more effective and efficient in what we do out there. He definitely met all that criteria hands down.”
In 2008, Passini was awarded a Bronze Order of the De Fleury Medal, which goes to an individual who has rendered significant service or support to an element of the Engineer Regiment. Passini said he received the award after a 2007-2008 deployment to Iraq as the deputy commander of the 35th Engineer Brigade, of Fort Leonard Wood.
Passini also deployed in 2005-06 to Iraq as commander of the 110th Engineer Battalion, of Kansas City, and throughout 2010 to Kabul, Afghanistan, as an advisor to the Afghan police.
A 1976 high school graduate of Saint Mary’s Springs Academy in Fond du Lac, Wisc., Passini earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 1980 and a Masters of Business Administration in 1999 at Southeast Missouri State University, in Cape Girardeau.
Passini is supported in his military career by his wife, Cathy, and his three children.