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NEWS | Oct. 11, 2022

EXU-1 Officer Receives Prestigious Leadership Award

By NSWC Indian Head Division Public Affairs

Lt. Patrick Gest, Expeditionary Exploitation Unit ONE (EXU-1), received the Rear Admiral Draper L. Kauffman Leadership Award in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Sept. 30. Kauffman organized the first U.S. Navy Demolition Team in 1943 and is widely regarded as one of the forefathers of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). The annual award is presented to an EOD officer who serves in a platoon or company commander position.

“Lt. Gest is an incredible naval officer and leader. He embodies the leadership and character of Rear Admiral Kauffman, bringing superb professionalism, selflessness and passion to the job and the EXU-1 team every day,” said EXU-1 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Eric Hui.  “He is undoubtedly most deserving of this prestigious award.”

Gest has been with EXU-1 since January 2020. He deployed to Commander U.S. 7th Fleet from EXU-1 and pushed creative initiatives during the difficult operating environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, he served as the deputy mission commander for the Commander, Task Force 75-led effort to recover the U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II that sunk in the South China Sea in January.

“It was extremely rewarding to work with a diverse group of Sailors and civilians to solve such a complex problem,” Gest said.

“I am honored to receive this award not only due to its namesake, Draper Kauffman, but also because of the legacy of talented and dedicated junior officers who have been recognized in the past,” Gest said. “I am humbled by this award and grateful to my teammates at EXU-1 and beyond. This recognition is a testament to the unique and important work performed by the whole EXU-1 team.” 

Located at Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Maryland, EXU-1 was commissioned in June 2018 as an Echelon V Command reporting to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD). NSWC IHD Commanding Officer Capt. Eric Correll serves as the immediate superior in command to EXU-1.


NSWC IHD — a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command and part of the Navy's Science and Engineering Establishment — is the leader in ordnance, energetics, and EOD solutions. The Division focuses on energetics research, development, testing, evaluation, in-service support, and disposal; and provides warfighters solutions to detect, locate, access, identify, render safe, recover, exploit, and dispose of explosive ordnance threats.