DAHLGREN, Va. – Rear Adm. Eric Ver Hage, commander of the Naval Sea Systems Warfare Centers, presented two Secretary of Defense Medals for the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and one Dr. Dolores M. Etter Award to Navy civilian engineers at a ceremony Aug. 30.
Two Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) employees – Nicholas Mastrokalos and Richard Oh – received the GWOT Medal in recognition of their contributions and accomplishments in direct support of the armed forces engaged in operations to combat terrorism.
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 U.S. military GWOT operation in a designated geographic location, may be eligible to receive the medal.
The admiral also presented NSWCDD engineer Dennis Larsen with the 2018 Assistant Secretary of the Navy Research, Development and Acquisition Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award for exceptional scientific and engineering achievement.
As Ver Hage pinned the GWOT Medal on Mastrokalos and Oh, their citations were read to all present, including NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Casey Plew and other NSWCDD leaders.
Mastrokalos was recognized for his nine deployments to Bahrain and Afghanistan where he provided technical expertise for the Weapons Tactical Intelligence Exploitation and Analysis Tool used by various forensics communities operating in the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility. In Bagram, Afghanistan, Mastrokalos conducted three software and database system upgrades to the Weapons Tactical Intelligence Exploitation and Analysis Tool software used by the Afghanistan Captured Material Exploitation and the Exploitation Analysis Center forensics laboratories at Bagram Airfield. In Bahrain, Mastrokalos provided numerous technical site visits to the U.S. Naval Forces CENTCOM Exploitation Laboratory in Bahrain.
Oh was recognized for his numerous deployments to Kuwait in order to provide onsite support as the Weapons Technical Intelligence Exploitation and Analysis Tool subject matter expert and information management officer for the Forensic Exploitation Laboratory at CENTCOM. In this capacity, he supported the exploitation of captured enemy material for Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve and Army CENTCOM.
While deployed, Oh was responsible for providing and maintaining standalone, unclassified, classified, and coalition network enclaves for over 20 Army lab personnel as well as Marines and coalition partners from various exploitation disciplines.
Larsen’s Etter award commended his leadership and support of the engineering, planning, and execution of the successful Virtual Twin Concept demonstration aboard the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) in 2018. This successful virtualization effort set the groundwork for expanding the Virtual Twin to transform every U.S. Navy ship into a unique test environment, enhancing data capture and analysis, and allowing for rapid testing and introduction of new technological capabilities to the warfighter.
The Etter Award is presented annually to scientists and engineers who have clearly demonstrated a superior accomplishment that is technically outstanding and highly beneficial operationally to the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, and national defense.