VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Cmdr. Joseph J. Oravec relieved Cmdr. Andrew J. Hoffman as commanding officer of Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division - Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD – DNA) in a traditional Navy change of command ceremony June 27 at Naval Air Station Oceana’s Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Ceremonial Hangar.
“It has been an absolute privilege to be part of the Dam Neck Activity team,” Hoffman said to NSWCDD DNA Sailors, employees, and guests at the ceremony. “For the past three and almost a half years, I have had a front row seat to see what we do every day to provide the best systems, tools and support to the Warfighter.”
Hoffman, a Mississippi native, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (Gold Star in lieu of the Second Award) for his achievements as NSWCDD DNA’s commanding officer. He told the audience that he was thrilled to be staying in the Warfare Center family as he heads to Port Hueneme as the Chief Engineer. “I look forward to the new opportunity and challenges this new role presents.”
Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, Commander of the NAVSEA Warfare Centers, was the ceremony’s guest speaker. He spoke about the lasting changes that Cmdr. Andy Hoffman made to NSWCDD DNA and thanked the workforce for their contributions to the Navy and the Nation.
“Andy Hoffman has spent the past 40 months making Dam Neck a more relevant, ready and responsive place,” he said. “We will miss him greatly.” He added, “To my great fortune Cmdr. Oravec shares many of the same attributes as the outgoing commanding officer. He’s a gifted leader with clarity of vision and an operational focus. I’m excited about Dam Neck’s future.”
Oravec, a Tampa, Florida native, has served in a variety of seagoing and shore-based assignments throughout his Navy career. He most recently served as the Air Dominance Department (A-Department) Officer at Naval Surface Warfare Center Port Hueneme Division (NSWC-PHD). He was responsible for in-service engineering, logistics, availability execution, and live fire test execution support of the AEGIS weapon system, BMD, CEC, VLS, ESSM and SM, and various other surface combat system elements.
“I’m very excited to continue the great work of Dam Neck and help ensure the Fleet is ready to fight today and into the future,” Oravec said. “On a personal level, I’m excited to have the opportunity for command and the chance to continue working with the great professional in the NSWC enterprise.”
Oravec entered the Navy via Officer Candidates School in 1999. His first at sea assignment was as Fire Control Officer onboard USS Stump (DD-978); his second was as Weapons Officer onboard USS Whirlwind (PC-11). He then attended Naval Postgraduate School and earned a Master’s Degree in Systems Engineering and Analysis from the Wayne E. Meyer Institute. Oravec attended Surface Warfare Officer Department Head School and his subsequent tours were as Chief Engineer onboard USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) in Sasebo, Japan; as a diesel engineering assessor at Engineering Assessments Pacific (formerly ATG N82); and as the Officer in Charge of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Mine Counter-Measures (MCM) Detachment One.
He served as an individual augmentee in Iraq and upon his return; Oravec conducted a lateral transfer to the Engineering Duty Officer (EDO) community and attended EDO Basic School. He served as a Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) Technical Representative at the Raytheon Missile Systems facility in Tucson, Arizona. His responsibilities included the ESSM, RAM, and JUWL programs. His next assignment was SM-3 IA/IB Program Manager (AGP) for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (AB) in the Missile Defense Agency. He was responsible for SM-3 IA/IB missile production, sustainment, and development.
The NAVSEA Warfare Centers provide research, development, test and evaluation for the future Navy as well as in-service engineering and logistics support for the operational naval forces.
NSWCDD DNA supports the mission of NSWC Dahlgren Division by providing force-level integrated and interoperable engineering solutions, mission critical control systems, and associated testing and training technologies to meet maritime, joint, special warfare and information operation requirements related to surface warfare, and to execute other responsibilities as assigned by commander, NSWC.