DAHLGREN, Va. – Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) leadership honored five recipients of the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) at a ceremony Nov. 1.
The Secretary of Defense GWOT Medal was presented to the awardees - all NSWC Dahlgren employees - to recognize and honor their contributions and accomplishments in direct support of the armed forces engaged in operations to combat terrorism.
“Our five award recipients are valued assets to Dahlgren and our nation,” said NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Godfrey ‘Gus’ Weekes. “While directly supporting our warfighters in theater, our recipients addressed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance challenges and supporting weapons system operations.”
Matthew Vaerewyck, Jeremiah Lange, and Cameron Sorlie were commended for their service in support of warfighter operations in the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) Area of Responsibility (CENTCOM AOR) during their deployments. Andrew Davis and Daniel Carlyle were commended for their service in support of warfighter operations in the CENTCOM and Africa Command Areas of Responsibility. The multiple deployments took the awards into theater at various dates and time periods between July 2014 and October 2016.
The medal – the civilian equivalent of the GWOT Expeditionary Medal – was created to recognize and honor the contributions and accomplishments of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce in direct support of members of the armed forces engaged in operations to combat terrorism.
Civilians, who on or after Sept. 11, 2001, participate abroad in an operation that directly supports a United States military GWOT operation in a designated geographic location, may be eligible to receive the medal.
“Our Global War on Terrorism Award recipients are an inspiration and example for all,” said Weekes. “Their work makes a difference on a daily basis to our service members. I also want to express my appreciation the family members for their success.”
From the awardees’ citations:
Davis supported Laser Weapon System (LaWS) installation aboard USS Ponce (AFSB (I)-15) in Bahrain. Moreover, he supported system operations verification and testing and the operational demonstration at sea as well as various maintenance and test events. Davis assisted with the successful LaWS operational demonstration, confirming the system’s capabilities in operationally relevant scenarios to include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, negation of an unmanned aerial vehicle and destruction of ammunition on small watercrafts. He supported the maintenance of the laser system by joining several fly away teams to perform specific maintenance both pier-side and while underway. Davis joined the deployed team on several occasions to support specific at-sea laser testing, allowing the Navy to better understand the weapon’s capabilities. His extraordinary support helped to build confidence levels of warfighters, the Navy, and DoD with regard to the technology.
Carlyle served as a field service representative aboard Ponce, where he supported the operation of the first deployed high energy laser weapon system developed by NSWCDD. He successfully executed day-to-day maintenance, training, and troubleshooting of the Laser Weapon System and provided direct support to the ship force for daytime and nighttime operations in CENTCOM and AFRICOM AORs. He provided exceptional 24/7 support to the system and the Sailors, saving others from having to travel to the ship from Dahlgren and building ship’s personnel and DoD confidence levels in the directed energy technology.
Vaerewyck, Lange, and Sorlie served as field service representatives aboard Ponce where they supported the deployment and operation of the first deployed laser weapon system developed by NSWCDD. They also provided day-to-day maintenance, training, and operation of the Laser Weapon System and direct support of daytime and nighttime operations in the CENTCOM AOR. Their extraordinary 24/7 support to the system and the Sailors minimized the number of field service representatives that had to travel to the ship from Dahlgren, and as a result – confidence in the technology increased among DoD personnel and ship’s crewmembers. Vaerewyck, Lange, and Sorlie also assisted with the successful demonstration of operationally relevant scenarios, ISR technology, negation of a UAV, and destruction of ammunition on small watercrafts.