SWD Deputy Counsel honored with Corps of Engineers Public Service Award

Published Feb. 25, 2014
Southwestern Division Deputy Counsel Walter J. Skierski, Jr., stands next to the Corps of Engineers 2013 Bert Pettinato Award for Public Service.

Southwestern Division Deputy Counsel Walter J. Skierski, Jr., stands next to the Corps of Engineers 2013 Bert Pettinato Award for Public Service.

by Martie Cenkci

Southwestern Division Public Affairs

DALLAS--Deputy Southwestern Division Counsel Walter J. Skierski, Jr., was recently honored with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers 2013 Bert Pettinato Award for Public Service.  Skierski, who has been an attorney with the Corps of Engineers for eight years in addition to serving as a judge advocate in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years, was selected for his leadership, concern for people, and his devotion of his entire career to the calling of public service.  The Corps’ Chief Counsel presents the award annually to an individual within the Corps of Engineers legal services community who demonstrates pride in public service through such leadership, concern for people, and a personal belief that government service is a noble calling and a public trust. 

“Walt exemplifies the traits that this award is built upon,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Kula, Southwestern Division commander.  “Through 30 years of service to this nation, both in the uniform of the U. S. Air Force and as a civilian Army employee, he has shown a commitment to the ideals that support this award, as well as outstanding legal expertise and leadership.”

Most recently, Skierski provided outstanding leadership while serving as the Acting Division Counsel for the Southwestern Division from Nov.  30, 2012 to March 10, 2013.  He led the office through significant issues, including a period of sequestration and planning for the possibility of civilian employee furloughs. 

His position at SWD also includes the role of Counsel to the Corps’ Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting-Dallas (PARC-DAL).   In that position, and as the Acting Division Counsel, he provided legal advice on numerous contracting and policy issues, including the litigation on a contract that repaired damaged Iraqi Oil Infrastructure and provided fuel for the Iraqis (Project RIO).  He also was involved in protests to issuance of contracts for the Division’s MILCON (military construction) Program, and has responded to numerous audits and Congressional inquiries.   He handled claims and litigation, and provided legal advice on issues associated with the new Centers of Standardization approach to real estate and planning.  Prior to coming to SWD, Skierski was an Assistant District Counsel at the Corps’ Fort Worth District. 

Nancye L. Bethurem, SWD Division Counsel, said, “Walt’s leadership has been responsible for guiding the office through a period of transition that was replete with major issues requiring skilled and professional handling.  His success led to the success of the entire office of counsel program for the Division.”  

While on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, Skierski served as a base-level assistant Staff Judge Advocate, deputy Staff Judge Advocate, and Staff Judge Advocate; a Numbered Air Force chief of Military Justice and as the Air Force’s s chief,  Legal Assistance,  while assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon.   He deployed as a Staff Judge Advocate for Operations DESERT SHIELD/STORM and UPHOLD DEMOCRACY.  His final assignment was as the Commander, Air Force ROTC Detachment 410, and Professor of Aerospace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn.  He retired at the rank of lieutenant colonel. 

Skierski is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Penn., and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from King’s College, a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air War College, and a JD from the Temple University School of Law.  He is licensed to practice law before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces,   and the United States Supreme Court. 

Release no. 14-006