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NSWC Dahlgren Employees Honored with NAVSEA Awards for Excellence

By NSWC Dahlgren Corporate Communications Division | Aug. 4, 2017

WASHINGTON – Two Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) engineers were honored for individual excellence while 52 others were commended for impacting excellent teams during a Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Excellence Awards and Commander’s Awards for Innovation ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, July 19.

Dr. Mary Ann Cummings – one of two scientists who won the 2016 Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Scientist of the Year Award – was recognized for an innovation that prepares warfighters for the unexpected. The patented software, called Orchestrated Simulation through Modeling (OSM), is now available for free to the Department of Defense. 

“Although this award was given to me, it really belongs to my team,” said Cummings. “I may have been the team lead but it was their knowledge and software skills that made OSM a reality.”

OSM has already simulated myriads of warfare scenarios in exercises over the past year. “It was my vision to create war games for Fleet operators before a Fleet exercise,” said the NSWCDD scientist. “We can create simulations that show what could happen and take data from an exercise to show how that exercise might play out as a real event.”

NSWCDD engineer Karen Wingeart was honored with the NAVSEA Women Moving Forward Award which recognizes efforts of those who promote equal opportunity in the workforce and continually make significant positive impacts to the command's mission and readiness.

"She's the subject matter expert when it comes to Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) systems for Ship Self-Defense Systems," said NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. Thomas Moore while announcing Wingeart was selected for the award in April. "She teaches at her church," the admiral wrote, adding that Wingeart, "takes part in Swim Across America which brings together swimming groups to help raise money to fight cancer, volunteers at a food bank, is a triathlete, a Navy reservist, a mother and a mentor."

The award encourages women to advocate for growth and development opportunities in employment and recognizes professional, community and leadership values that inspire others to strive for excellence in pursuit of their goals. 

Moreover, Moore and Jim Smerchansky, NAVSEA executive director, presented the NAVSEA Team Excellence Award to three teams comprised of scientists and engineers from Dahlgren.

The eight member all-Dahlgren NSWCDD 57mm Pressurized Air Catch System (PACS) Development and Test Team – Cynthia Holland, Dr. Jon Yagla, Dave Houchins, Dr. David Hubble, James Fetsko, Dr. Wayne Chepren, Michael Weisman, and Mark Kristofik – designed, developed, manufactured and successfully tested 57mm PACS in a 16 month timeframe. 

“The project was conceived and executed completely in-house,” said Fetsko. “The product of this work is a test capability which will allow gun projectile developers the ability to subject their guided projectile hardware to the 57mm tactical gun-launch environment and recover their fired projectile for hands-on survivability and functional assessment.”

The PACS team was inspired by the Secretary of the Navy’s challenge to bring distributed lethality to his ships. In response, the Dahlgren team created a new way of testing guided projectiles in order to increase the precision and lethality of guns aboard Navy warships. They invented a gas dynamics model to predict the behavior of projectiles inside a 250-ft long tube, ensuring successful recovery.  Multiple projectiles can be recovered each test day, significantly decreasing testing costs. The 57mm PACS has gone from concept to operational capability in just over a year and in its first six months of operation, PACS reduced costs four-fold.

Moore and Smerchansky honored the NSWCDD Strike Weapons Software Engineering Team with the NAVSEA Team Excellence Award.

They presented the award to members on behalf of the entire Strike Weapons Software Engineering Team – 25 scientists and engineers from Dahlgren – for their dedicated effort in meeting emergent fleet needs by successfully delivering the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System (TTWCS) v5.4.0.2 baseline on an accelerated and unprecedented schedule. 

“Their technical excellence and unwavering commitment in the midst of a dynamic, challenging environment has resulted in a build that is of the highest quality and represents a major upgrade in the operational effectiveness for the Fleet user,” according to the citation.

“This team overcame an extremely chaotic environment to deliver a fully functional system within nine months after the program was re-baselined,” said Capt. Joseph Mauser, program manager of PMA-280 (Tomahawk sponsor) in his letter of appreciation to the team.  “You surged when it was most needed to keep the first major tech refresh of TTWCS on track. This team has distinguished itself as the go-to team within the Tomahawk enterprise.”

The NSWCDD team members included: Andrew Orzechowski, Colin Hayden, Colleen Johnson, Deborah Saunders, Douglas Freeman, Gregory Stodola, James Wolfe, Joel Peck, John Davis, John Griffith, Lucas Aylor, Matthew Nicholas, Matthew Shaw, Nikaulys Torres-Avila, Ralph Beck, Richard Rossmiller, Robin Ross, Rodney Bissett, Sharon Buchanan, Sherry Mills, Steven Stoltenberg, Thomas Mercier, Timothy Fischer, William Kidd, and Y Nhu Nyugen.

Moore and Smerchansky also honored the Soft Kill Coordination System (SKCS) Team – sponsored by the NAVSEA Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems – with the NAVSEA Team Excellence Award.

The SKCS team included 20 Dahlgren scientists and engineers: Alan Brown, Amy Sams, Andrew Orzecheski, Christian Bell, Christina Gruszecki, Daniel Bradford, Darryl Schnellenberger, George Foster, James Rice, John Griffith, John Morris, Jonathan Gibson, Kenneth Robinson, Matthew Goodreau, Nathan Morrow, Sara Callison, Scott Larimer, Sharon Brem, Shawn Cowan, and Stephen Hagewood.

NSWCDD is a premier research and development center that serves as a specialty site for weapon system integration. The command's unique ability to rapidly introduce new technology into complex warfighting systems is based on its longstanding competencies in science and technology, research and development, and test and evaluation.