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NEWS | March 30, 2021

NSWC Panama City Test Directors named Testers in the Spotlight

By Katherine Mapp NSWC PCD Public Affairs

Randy Hetzel and Darryl Ogden, test directors at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), were recently named as Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Testers in the Spotlight.

Both Hetzel and Ogden were humbled and proud to learn of their nomination and selection for the award.

“Being recognized as a NAVSEA Tester in the Spotlight is a testimony to the fact we are all, no matter our role, capable of receiving a notable award,” said Hetzel.  “I am very appreciative of the award. The internal command recognition and nomination is the most gratifying part.”

Ogden echoed this sentiment.

“Knowing there are many folks constantly doing exceptional work testing various systems, I am honored to have been selected from such a prestigious group,” said Ogden.

Hetzel currently serves as the primary test director (TD) for the Threat Detection Land Neutralization System and associated vehicles. He is also the assistant TD for Joint Assault Breaching Systems, Komodo Directed Energy System, Airborne Mine Neutralization System, and Adaptive Persistent Awareness Systems.  Hetzel has served as a project manager and lead on numerous projects throughout his career and over the past two decades at NSWC PCD.

Ogden currently serves as the test and evaluation (T&E) lead for the Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA) system where he provides TD and System Test Engineer services to the program at NSWC PCD.  He leads a team of scientists and engineers from a diverse background of experiences and skills to execute complex COBRA system tests.

Dr. Peter Adair, division technical director at NSWC PCD, said Hetzel and Ogden’s role in T&E is critical to the success of our Sailors and Marines.

“NSWC PCD continues to ensure warfighting dominance in the littoral battlespace by providing research, development, and T&E support to rapidly deliver solutions to meet emerging fleet needs by expanding the advantage between the U.S. and our adversaries,” said Adair. “One of the keys to delivering these solutions to the end users on the front lines is ensuring they have been properly tested and evaluated.  Randy and Darryl’s recognition with this award is a true testament to their valuable support to deliver safe and effective products for the fleet.”

One of Hetzel’s most memorable moments working in T&E at NSWC PCD was a team effort among a diverse pool of employees all with one goal – saving lives.

“The Panama City Mine Roller was one of my favorite projects I have tested because it demonstrates how our entire command worked together to develop a successful product to Sailors and Marines,” said Hetzel.  “A success that resulted in saving a great many lives.”

Ogden said the best part of the job is supporting the warfighter.

“I enjoy being able to test future systems for the Navy knowing eventually we will deliver a system to the warfighter that will enhance their capabilities and keep them out of harm’s way.”

NAVSEA Headquarters and NAVSEA Warfare Centers T&E leaders, Karen Burrows and Paul Mann, acknowledged their achievements by presenting both testers with a certificate.