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New commander takes helm at PSNS & IMF; unit award announced

By PSNS & IMF Public Affairs | June 12, 2019

BREMERTON, Wash. —

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility welcomed its new commander and announced a prestigious honor for the organization during the shipyard’s change of command ceremony June 12.

Capt. Dianna Wolfson relieved Capt. Howard Markle at the ceremony, becoming the first woman to command a Navy shipyard. Markle had commanded PSNS & IMF and its 15,000-plus employees and Sailors since Aug. 7, 2015.

Also during the ceremony, Markle announced that PSNS & IMF had been awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for its performance from October 2015 to March 2019. The Meritorious Unit Commendation is the Navy’s third highest unit award. It is awarded to organizations that distinguish themselves “by either valorous or meritorious achievement, which renders the unit outstanding compared to other units performing similar service,” according to the Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual.

Markle attributed the command’s success to the hard work and ingenuity of the shipyard workforce.

“Others seek to understand your success,” he said. “It is simple; roll up your sleeves, hydrate yourself, prepare to get your hands dirty and join us on the waterfront where great people make great things happen with the enduring support of the other local commands, our regional private sector partners, our surrounding communities and our local, state and federal governments.”

Hundreds of shipyard employees and invited guests from the community attended the event, held in the shipyard’s historic Building 460 at the east end of the shipyard, near the Bremerton ferry terminal.

Wolfson was commissioned in 1996 and has served in a wide variety of ship and shore assignments. She served aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Her shore assignments include Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; Commander, Naval Forces Atlantic; Norfolk Naval Shipyard (twice); and the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding office in Newport News, Virginia. Her last assignment was at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where she served as the command’s operations officer.

“I look forward to bringing value and contributing to this high-performing Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility team,” said Wolfson.  “I’ve had many great opportunities so far in my naval career, but the greatest opportunity of all is the one before me at this very moment…serving the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility workforce.”

Markle presided over PSNS & IMF during the period for which the Meritorious Unit Commendation was awarded. In addition, the shipyard received the Robert T. Mason Award for Depot Maintenance Excellence, the Department of Defense’s highest honor for depot-level maintenance, in December 2018. Markle’s next assignment will be on the executive staff of the Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, in Washington, D.C.

“I will sleep well tonight knowing that the incredible men and women of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, Trident Refit Facility and Northwest Regional Maintenance Center have the watch,” said Markle. “You should be incredibly proud of your many accomplishments; I am, and there are many people in line behind me who feel the same way. Thanks for all you do!”

NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. Thomas Moore presided over the ceremony.