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NEWS | June 24, 2024

NSWC Dahlgren Division bids farewell to recently retired Commanding Officer Capt. Philip Mlynarski

By Diana Stefko, NSWCDD Corporate Communications

On June 21, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) and Navy senior leadership, personnel and local dignitaries came together among a crowd of family and friends to honor Capt. Philip Mlynarski’s 26 years of commendable service to the nation. 

Mlynarski, who served as the 47th Commanding Officer at NSWCDD, was relieved by Capt. Joseph Oravec during a change of command ceremony held at the Potomac River Test Range gun line that also served as a retirement celebration for Mlynarski. 

A native of East Chicago, Indiana, Mlynarski earned a bachelor’s in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University and later, a master’s in aerospace engineering from Auburn University.  

He began his naval career in late 1997 when he commissioned to Purdue University’s Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program. He then served as a surface warfare officer onboard USS John Handcock (DD 981) as a gunnery officer and force protection officer and proceeded to serve as ship’s navigator onboard USS Dewert (FFG 45). 

Over the course of his career, Mlynarski would go on to rise through the ranks and serve in various essential roles in subsequent shore duty tours stateside and overseas, including serving as AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense director (BMD) of Test and Evaluation for AEGIS BMD Test Program and executive officer to the Director of the Missile Defense Agency. 

In May 2018, Mlynarski took command of AEGIS Technical Representative in Moorestown, New Jersey, where he received a promotion to the rank of captain, prior to assuming the top military office at NSWCDD in April 2022. 

Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, Jr., who spoke on behalf of the Navy, commented on Mlynarski’s exemplary leadership, technical expertise and dedication. “[Mlynarski] cared about the people, about the mission and about making NSWCDD better every day, and that is a mark of a true leader,” said Wolfe. “He really is part of the life blood of Navy. He has been a sounding board for leaders such as myself, and provided countless hours of advice and expertise that will be missed.” 

Wolfe also presented an official retirement certificate, issued on behalf of the White House and President Joe Biden, which read in part, “Your bravery and dedication in our Armed Forces helped protect your fellow Americans during a critical moment in our history and contributed to a world of greater security and growing prosperity. Your devotion to duty, honor, and country, in keeping with the long traditions of the finest military in the world, embodied the American ideal of selfless service. Our Nation owes you an incredible debt.” 

During his retirement ceremony, Mlynarski took to the podium and reflected on his years of military service and the significance of his journey. “As those who wear or support wearing the cloth of our Nation, I believe it is truly a noble calling for each of us, whether you serve for two years or 26 and a half years. I look at our flag and hear our National Anthem every morning and have a massive feeling of pride serving our Navy,” said Mlynarski. “Quoting President Kennedy about the Navy, ‘I can imagine a no more rewarding career and any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’” 

In recognition and appreciation of Mlynarski’s unwavering service and significant contributions at Dahlgren, NSWCDD Technical Director Dale Sisson, Jr., P.E., SES, presented him with a 1/16th scaled replica of the 11-inch Dahlgren Gun. 

Among the many commendations and achievements he has received over the years, Mlynarski is also a recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (with four gold stars) and the Navy Achievement Medal (with one gold star).  

He also received letters of congratulations from former President Donald Trump, Indiana Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Purdue University President Mung Chiang and the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball Organization.  

Mlynarski attributed much of his success to his wife, Leah, and two children, Gabriel and Kiana. “I look back on some of the most important things I’ve learned while being in the Navy; the first is balance, meaning you have to have some assemblance of balance across all aspects of your life,” said Mlynarski. “You need to consider your family, your work, your community, your faith and yourself. What I’ve learned from my time serving in Hawaii is to live ‘pono’, or to live righteously, and strive to have a little aloha in your life every day. Balance is tough, but you have to work at it. If you do, you’ll find that your most laborious journeys tend to become more exciting adventures.” 

Mlynarski also presented each of his family members with certificates of appreciation for their support throughout his career.  

NSWCDD senior leadership and the entire workforce congratulate Mlynarski on all his career accomplishments and loyal devotion toward the safety and mission success of our Sailors and Marines, the warfighter and the Navy. Fair winds and following seas, Capt. Mlynarski.