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NEWS | Sept. 28, 2023

Two NUWC Division Newport employees awarded National Defense Industrial Association Bronze Medal

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Anthony “Tony” Paolero of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport’s Undersea Warfare Sensors and Sonar Systems Department, and Dr. Fletcher Blackmon, who retired in May from the same department, were each awarded a 2023 National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Bronze Medal during the 2023 Joint Undersea Warfare Fall Conference, held Sept. 18-20 at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

The NDIA Bronze Medal is an annual award that recognizes outstanding individual achievements in science or engineering in the field of undersea warfare (USW). 

Paolero, a resident of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, has been the head of the Sensors and Arrays Division in the USW Sensors and Sonar Systems Department since 2014. He has been recognized as a technical expert in the areas of undersea sonar and acoustic technology throughout his 33-year career and is known as an “outstanding leader,” the award states. 

He leads a team of 155 technical personnel at Division Newport in Rhode Island and at the Underwater Sound Reference Division facility located at Bugg Spring in Okahumpka, Florida.

Among his many career achievements, he spearheaded an initiative to get the Underwater Sound Reference Division recognized as the first National Institute of Standards and Technology Designated Institute in the area of underwater sound. This designation puts Division Newport on the map as the nation’s standardizing activity for sound in water, and it enhances sensors and sonar systems, next generation capabilities, a host of industry and university partnerships, and fleet readiness in support of national security.

Blackmon, a resident of Mashpee, Massachusetts, who retired in May as head of the Science and Technology Division in the USW Sensors and Sonar Systems Department, had a distinguished 34-year career in which he demonstrated his technical prowess as a subject matter expert in the areas of underwater acoustic communication, laser-based opto-acoustic communication, and acousto-optic communication systems.

“His ability to conceptualize, develop, test, and assess exploratory sensor and processing technologies for potential integration and application in large, complex military systems made him an internationally and nationally recognized pioneer who has an outstanding record of innovation and successful research,” the award states. “With his technical acumen and dedication to every endeavor, Dr. Blackmon served as an exceptional leader who provided unparalleled mentorship to all who crossed his path and as a result, has trained the next generation of engineers. His technical efforts throughout his career contributed significantly to warfighter readiness.”

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.