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Home : Media : News
NEWS | April 24, 2017

NSWC IHEODTD Recognizes Honorary Award Winners

By NSWC IHEODTD Public Affairs

INDIAN HEAD, Md. ─ Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NSWC IHEODTD) recognized top individuals and teams who contributed substantially to the command’s mission success during the annual Honorary Awards ceremony conducted here at the town’s Village Green Park Pavilion, April 20.


“The successful products that come out of this command don’t happen by accident,” said NSWC IHEODTD Commanding Officer Scott Kraft. “They occur from a deep sense of commitment, diligence and attention to what’s important.” Kraft acknowledged the employees’ dedication to the mission and thanked them for their exemplary service.


NSWC IHEODTD Technical Director Ashley Johnson also congratulated the winners on their successes and expressed his gratitude for their contributions to the command’s strategic mission.


The men and women recognized here today are noted for their innovation, keeping the workforce safe, saving resources for the Navy, and for their commitment and dedication to the Nation's warfighters,” said Johnson. “The power and success of NSWC IHEODTD is our people – the Navy depends on us to fly farther, hit harder, and save lives.”


Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Executive Director of Corporate Operations Christina Adams served as keynote speaker. Adams, who began her career 32 years ago at Indian Head along with Johnson, is responsible total force management to meet the needs of more than 30,000 employees throughout the NAVSEA enterprise.


Awards and Winners:


ROGER M. SMITH TEAM AWARD (named in honor of the former Indian Head Division Technical Director who served from October 1989 until his death in January 1999. Smith believed teamwork was the key to the division’s technical success.  This award focuses on the contributions made through teaming efforts to improve the organization’s performance and effectiveness to meet customer needs):

Visco-Modification Team: Brian Schaffer, Brian Mason, Christopher Milby, Phillip Jones, Salil Mohan, Victor Bellitto, Zaeemuddin Husain (members are from both the Systems Engineering (E) and Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Departments

NSWC IHEODTD’s Visco-Modification Team proposed a solution to a high priority Joint Urgent Operational Need (JUON) that concerned the mitigation and clean-up of crude oil spills. The team used a specialized high molecular weight polymer to gel very large volumes of crude oil. The solution was delivered in a 90-day period. The successful completion of this effort represents a tremendous accomplishment by Navy researchers to quickly address the needs of its warfighters.



Kyle Foley, Booster Supply Program Manager, Systems Engineering Department

Foley’s program represents the re-introduction of retired Navy tactical boosters to propel fleet targets and to NASA as sounding rockets. The boosters include the MK 11 Talos and the MK 12 Terrier rocket motors as well the MK 70 rocket motors. Prior to the initiation of this program these rocket motors resided in storage awaiting demilitarization. NSWC IHEODTD customers can achieve significant cost savings by re-purposing these existing rocket motors instead of manufacturing new motors. Under Foley's leadership, the total customer booster demand for fiscal year 2017 increased to 44 boosters from 29 the previous year. The conversion of tactical rocket motors into launch vehicles requires the coordination of hardware procurement, explosives manufacturing and test efforts across the command.


Lance Corporal T. J. Honeycutt Award for Forward Deployed Service (named in honor of the 19-year-old Marine from Charles County, Md., who lost his life to an improvised explosive device (IED) attack while on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, Oct. 27, 2010 – this award recognizes a civilian employee who within the past year has deployed to provide direct support to the warfighter in support of IHEODTD’s mission):

Jared Spears, EOD Department

As a logistics division engineer, Spears deployed on numerous occasions throughout the year to provide electrical engineering support for the Expeditionary Exploitation Unit One (EXU-1) missions, IED exploitation, underwater post-blast investigation and advanced X-ray capabilities.


COMMAND AWARD FOR SAFETY EXCELLENCE (recognizes an individual or a group of employees who have made a significant effort to enhance safe work practices in their area):

Lester Leonard III, Energetics Manufacturing Department

As the Explosives Engineering and Development Branch manager, Leonard took the extra step to ensure his branch demonstrated and promoted a culture of safety. He also acts as the chairman for the New Explosive Material Review Committee (NEMRC) which reviews the safety and hazards of all new explosive formulations before being processed in the plant.



(Individual category)  Kenneth Moore, Corporate Operations

As a general equipment specialist, Moore provided for exemplary customer service in asset management. Over the course of the year, the department saw a dramatic turnaround in the way property is handled and the culture of the employees switched from one of opposition to one of cooperation. He epitomizes customer service – always taking the time to develop proper relationships and understanding the issues at the ground-level.


(Team category) Cynthia Gilroy, Austin Garruba, Nathaniel Link, Courtney Thompson, Michelle Jones and Shannon Taylor – Travel Administration Team, Employee Services Office

The travel administration team provided expertise, excellent customer care, and commitment to connect, reach and support the warfighter. Gilroy and her team processed travel orders outside the normal working hours, just to assure that the CAD/PAD Mishap Investigation Support Team (MIST) would be on location as required. On one occasion, Gilroy's team processed priority orders for the MIST at 2 a.m. and worked continuously until they assured that all documents were in order.


EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY & DIVERSITY AWARD (recognizes the achievements of an individual or group who has excelled in extending equal opportunity to those desiring Federal employment or by assisting Federal employees in achieving their highest potential and productivity):

Rutherford “RIT” Taylor Jr., EOD Department

Taylor’s support of the EEO & Diversity program has earned praise from his peers, management and the Command. He currently serves as Chair of the Command's EEO & Diversity Inclusion Council (EDIC); Command Special Emphasis (African American) Program Coordinator; and serves on Multi-Cultural Day committee. Taylor's professional attitude, infectious motivation and integrity make him a valuable member of the NSWC IHEODTD Team and a major contributor to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity programs.


DR. HORST ADOLPH AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PATENT (Dr. Horst Adolph’s 30-year government career began in 1961 and included achieving more than 40 patents and authoring over 90 publications dealing with synthesis and formulation of energetic ingredients used in explosives and propellants): 

Incendiary Devices Team – Steven Kim, Conan Schultz and Carl Gotzmer

Kim, Schultz and Gotzmer collaborated to develop an incendiary grenade capable of achieving higher burn temperatures and longer burn times. This ability can be exploited in several new ways by the U.S. warfighter and provides a hand-held capability, which has never been achievable.

CONTINUOUS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT AWARD (recognizes efforts resulting in significant improvement made to administrative, business, or technical processes accomplished through Lean and/or Six Sigma, yielding benefits in cost, schedule, quality, and/or risk):

Michael Kelly, Systems Integration Department

During his three years as a Professional Development Council representative, Kelly involved himself in process improvements to identify the next generation of workforce leaders, improve retention and reduce personnel recruitment costs. Kelly also serves as Systems Integration Department’s hazardous materials focal point for ordnance issues and the technical agent for packaging approval during cataloging.

CAPTAIN H. E. LACKEY AWARD FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE (Named for Captain Henry E. Lackey, Commanding Officer of NSWC IHEODTD from 1917-1920, this award is given to an individual or team who, on their own time, provided significant contributions to the community):

Steven Possehl, Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Department

A senior research engineer, Possehl made time to invest in reaching back to the community in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) projects and other volunteer programs in Charles County. His involvement includes mentoring four middle school SeaPearch underwater robotics teams, mentoring a Marine Advanced Technology Education underwater robotics team, being a training officer for the Pentagon Division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (USNCC), volunteering for the Charles County 4H for STEM-related activities, instructing for Project Appleseed and participating in the Christmas Toy Connection for the Charles County Children’s Aid Society.  

A.J. PERK OUTSTANDING OPERATOR/TECHNICIAN OF THE YEAR (A.J. Perk was devoted to providing customers with excellent products and services by “doing the job right.” He was fair, firm, decisive, and cared about the employees’ interest. This award recognizes a model employee who serves as an example to others):

(Individual category) Johnnie Hart, Energetics Manufacturing Department

Hart performs many different types of operations including mixing propellant and transporting explosives and ingredients. “He is a dedicated, exceptional employee with a strong work ethic, who shows up early, works hard, goes the extra mile, helps others whenever needed, and is enjoyable to work with,” said Matthew Tanner.

(Team category) Francis Lange and Nicholas Schombs

As Cartridge and Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) mishap investigators on the Mishap Investigation Support Team (MIST), Lange and Schombs provide assistance with the recovery, removal, inspection and disposal of all CAD/PAD items stored on the aircraft. Lange and Schombs are ready to travel with very short notice to the aircraft accidents, sometimes found in remote locations. During 2016, they investigated 11 mishaps, three of which involved fatalities.


ADMIRAL HAROLD R. STARK AWARD FOR INNOVATION (As the Naval Inspector of Ordnance in charge of the Naval Proving Grounds, Dahlgren, Va., and the Naval Powder Factory, Indian Head, Md., Admiral Harold R. Stark became the Chief of Naval Operations in 1939. This award recognizes an individual or group who advanced the state of the art in their field of endeavor): 

Robert Rast, Research, Development, Test & Evaluation (RDT&E) Department

A senior research technologist, Rast developed an improved end-of-life predictive aging protocol for rocket motors that has vastly improved the historical methods previously used by NSWC IHEODTD and the Navy. The predictive aging method has been used on several programs and it is the state-of-the-art method now used in the Navy.

JOE L. BROWNING AWARD FOR MANAGERIAL EXCELLENCE (This award is named for Joe L. Browning, NSWC IHEODTD’s first Technical Director, assuming the post from 1962 - 1975. This award recognizes an individual who demonstrated innovative leadership principles and management skills of coaching and teaming in the development of personnel and their accomplishments):

William “Bill” Borgelt, Systems Engineering Department

As manager of the Weapons Division in McAlester, Okla., Borgelt led the detachment by example and ensured that it had the necessary resources to accomplish its mission. Borgelt more than doubled the workload in his division and modernized operations utilizing multiple traditional and nontraditional funding sources.


DR. GEORGE W. PATTERSON AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACCOMPLISHMENT (As Chief Chemist and Powder Expert, Dr. George Patterson is remembered for his outstanding work accomplished during his 41-year tenure, including noted achievements of developing smokeless and flashless gun powders. This award honors an individual for outstanding technical accomplishment that has had a pronounced effect in supporting the NSWC IHEODTD mission and advancing some area of technology):

John Cox, Systems Engineering Department

A fuze engineer, Cox was recognized for consistent on-time delivery and thorough, timely reporting as evidenced in the rapid growth in NSWC IHEODTD’s exploitation revenue stream. The work executed on these programs was the first of its kind for the Systems Engineering Department and provides highly valuable information to the warfighter when assessing threats faced by U.S. armed forces. This successful delivery spawned another fuze exploitation effort, which is expected to further solidify NSWC IHEODTD’s position as a key contributor.


ROBERT B. DASHIELL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE (Ensign Robert B. Dashiell was NSWC IHEODTD’s first Commanding Officer and is acknowledged for the establishment of the facility, including supervision of building and acquisition of staff and materials; he was a specialist in gun mechanical design and invented the Dashiell rapid-fire breech):

Richard Pence, EOD Department

An EOD equipment specialist, Pence has more than 32 years of experience supporting the Joint Service EOD Program and provides technical rigor to the EOD Department’s Remote Magnetic Signature Test Facilities/Sites (RMSTF/S) Program. Pence provided crucial support and improved the confidence, quality and effectiveness of Navy EOD Mine Counter-Measure forces worldwide.


NSWC IHEODTD – a NAVSEA field activity and part of the Navy’s Science and Engineering Establishment – is a 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.