Lt. Col. John M. Fernas assumed his duty as the Deputy Commander for the Rock Island District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, July 1, 2019, after serving as the Deputy Engineer for the XVIII Airborne Corps & Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve.
Fernas is a native of Vineland, New Jersey, and entered active duty service as an engineer officer in 1998 upon graduating from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. He has held a variety of assignments from the Company through Corps and Joint levels. He spent his Lieutenant assignments at Fort Hood, Texas, with the 62nd Engineer Battalion as a Platoon Leader and 91st Engineer Battalion as a Company Executive Officer. As a Captain in Germany, he served as the Grafenwoehr Training Area Engineer, 7th Army Training Command. He then served as the Assistant Brigade Engineer for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and as the Company Commander for Bravo Company, 9th Engineer Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. As a Major, Fernas served as an Observer Controller/Training and the lead Counter-IED trainer at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, Hohenfels Training Area, Germany. While in Hawaii he served as the 25th Infantry Division and Joint Multination Division Iraq Deputy Engineer and then served as the Battalion Executive Officer for 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade. As a Lieutenant Colonel, he served as the Engineer Division Chief for Joint Task Force-North and as the XVIII Airborne Corps Deputy Engineer.
Fernas’ combat deployments include three deployments in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom (the Transition of Iraq Campaign, the Iraqi Governance Campaign, and the National Resolution Campaign) as well as Operation New Dawn. He also deployed twice in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
His professional military education includes the Engineer Officer Basic Course, the Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Combined Arms Services and Staff School, the Joint Engineer Operations Course, and the Command and General Staff College Intermediate Level Education. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education, Mathematics, from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s in Engineer Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla Missouri.
His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star with two oak leaf clusters, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, and the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medals with four campaign stars, Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service Medal. He has also been awarded the Ranger Tab, the Army Basic Parachutist Badge, and the Combat Action Badge.