FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – A Missouri National Guard engineer recently earned an Army Commendation Medal for his efforts on a surveying mission to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Sgt. Justin White, who lives in Springfidield, led a survey team during his two-week annual training mission that will help create a design plan to build a potential migrant camp at Guantanamo Bay for U.S. Army South, which oversees all U.S. Army operations south of the continental United States and Mexico.

White, a technical engineer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Engineer Brigade, of Fort Leonard Wood, was presented the award in Cuba by Maj. Gen. Frederick S. Rudesheim, U.S. Army South commanding general.

"It was a surprise," White said of receiving the award. "It was kind of a shock to get an award from a two-star general."

Lt. Col. Scott Bach, who led the 18 members of the Army and Air Missouri National Guard on the survey and design mission, said White was very deserving of the award as his team provided the most accurate data.

"His survey team consistently had the best data," said Bach, who is commander of the 235th Construction Management Team, of Fort Leonard Wood. "When you are out collecting data, if you make an error in your process, it doesn't come into the computer aided design systems very well. His team was consistently the best and their data came in smoothly. So we wanted to recognize him for that."

White, who led team three, helped survey almost 200 acres of land with two other teams during the two weeks. He said this was his first, big real-world mission he had been a part of.

"Most of it has been training up until then," said White, who has been in the Guard for six years. "The most I had ever surveyed before for a real-world project was about a half acre of land for a parking lot. For that to all come together is something to be proud of."

In his civilian career, White is a supervisor with Mid-Am Metal Forming Inc., of Rogersville. A 2004 graduate of Dixon High School, White is six credit hours short of an associate's degree in computer drafting and design from ITT Technical Institute in Springfield.

White is supported in his military career by his family and friends.