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Joe C.
Democrat CT 2

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  • Honoring the Life and Service of John Markowicz

    by Representative Joe Courtney

    Posted on 2013-01-23

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    COURTNEY of connecticut in the house of representatives Wednesday, January 23, 2013 Mr. COURTNEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart to honor a fierce and passionate advocate for southeastern Connecticut, John Markowicz.

    John was well known in southeastern Connecticut for the many hats he wore over the course of his life. Graduating the U.S. Naval Academy in 1965, John achieved the rank of captain in the Navy where he served in the submarine force in a variety of posts, including the USS Pargo (SSN 650) and USS Guitarro (SSN 665). Following active duty service, John continued in the Naval Reserve to achieve 34 years in the service of our Nation. In his life in the private sector, John helped found Sonalysts in 1976, a defense contractor in Waterford, Connecticut that is one of the region's largest employers today. Following his time at Sonalysts, John served in a number of positions to promote economic development in eastern Connecticut, most notably as Executive Director of the Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer).

    As impressive as these achievements are, he is best and rightly remembered by the southeastern Connecticut region as the leader of the fight to save Naval Submarine Base New London from closure during the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.

    When the submarine base was placed on the BRAC list in 2005, John activated a non-partisan and diverse group of experts tasked with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of overturning the Pentagon's recommendation. John and his team burrowed into the data, found critical flaws, and constructed the airtight argument against closing this unique and irreplaceable naval asset.

    Although I was not in Congress at the time, I vividly remember attending the Boston regional meeting of the BRAC commission in the summer of 2005. With John and his case at the lead, Connecticut's delegation picked apart the misguided decision to close the base-- stressing the economic harm, the strategic impact and, most importantly, the various flaws underpinning the case to close the base.

    It worked. In September 2005 the base was removed from the list and spared closure. While there were many involved in the successful effort to save the base, it was John's leadership, attention to detail, and unsparing devotion to the mission that was rightly credited with making it possible.

    As importantly, John understood that the work of promoting and defending the base did not end with the decision to remove the base from the BRAC list. In the years following, John stressed the need for the creation of a state Office of Military Affairs and a historic new partnership between Connecticut and the Navy to invest in the infrastructure of the base--both of which are in place now and under way. He also worked closely with my staff and me in monitoring the latest rumors about new BRACs and following Congressional debates about submarine production like a box score.

    In my years of knowing him, I always found John to be a quiet but effective professional. He never pursued the spotlight, never wanted the glory--he sought only to accomplish the mission. In his passing, eastern Connecticut has lost a fierce advocate for the ``Submarine Capitol of the World'' and all of us will long remember all he gave to our region and our state. His memory will live on in the thousands of people at work every day at a more modem submarine base that he helped to save--and the countless businesses and employees across the region that rely on it.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask all my colleagues to join me in honoring the life and service of John Markowicz and sharing our condolences with the family he leaves behind.


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