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NEWS | Aug. 12, 2020

Two Engineers Receive Prestigious 2019 Aaron B. Powers and Jerry L. Hayes Awards

By By Kim Longstaff, Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Corporate Communications NSWC Corona Division

Two prestigious awards for Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona Division, the Aaron B. Powers and the Jerry L. Hayes Awards, were presented at an outdoor ceremony to two distinguished engineers on Aug. 6.

Congratulations are in order for Kevin J. Van Den Oever, Fleet Analysis and Assessment Lead in the Performance Assessment (PA) Department in receiving the Aaron B. Powers Award and Robert E. Fritzsche, Metrology and Calibration (METCAL) Chief Engineer in the Measurement Science and Engineering Department in receiving the Jerry L. Hayes Award. Both were presented their awards by the Commanding Officer, Captain Khary Hembree-Bey and the Technical Director, Dianne Costlow, Senior Executive Service (SES).

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, a small ceremony, with everyone practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings, was held outdoors at NSWC Corona near the flagpole.

About the Aaron B. Powers Award. The Aaron B. Powers Award recognizes the outstanding efforts of the Fleet Missile Systems Analysis and Evaluation Group’s (FMSAEG) first Technical Director, Aaron B. Powers. His accomplishments advanced the scientific analysis and evaluation of testing and operational validation of naval weapons systems for the Navy. Decades after being established in 1964, FMSAEG’s mission continues to this day under the aegis of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division. NSWC Corona is a recognized leader in data analysis and assessment, a legacy that was created and developed under Aaron Powers’ leadership. Award recipients embody his spirit and vision that enable NSWC Corona to execute this critical mission for the Navy.

Kevin J. Van Den Oever has continued Aaron B. Powers’ legacy of excellence through his numerous achievements and accomplishments. Mr. Van Den Oever developed and enhanced his skills as an analyst while assessing the performance of Standard Missile variants as well as combat system performance of the USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7) class ships and Tartar New Threat Upgrade (NTU) ships. He served as the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) Project Lead where his superb organizational and analytical skills resulted in his assignment as the CEC Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL) lead. His next major assignment was as the initial Test and Evaluation (T&E) Coordinator for Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) 7A (Advanced Technology). Later, Mr. Van Den Oever was the Force Level Assessment Division Head in charge of assessing the interoperability performance of integrated Naval, Joint and Coalition combat and weapons systems and was then selected as the first PA Department Chief Engineer (CHENG) and Command T&E Director. As the CHENG, he focused on the importance of technical rigor and capability management, establishing the early employee development framework and training program that has evolved into today’s Corona University. His visionary foresight moved the PA Department toward analysis of Fleet exercises, where he was instrumental in providing the Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center (SMWDC) an analytical capability to assess SMWDC directed Surface Warfare Advanced Tactical Training (SWATT) events. He led the collaborative analysis effort across the NAVSEA Warfare Center (WFC) Enterprise for Valiant Shield 2018 with a focus on enhancing WFC contributions to Fleet readiness, which resulted in tasking to support analysis and assessment of the Fleet Battle Problem campaign plan.

“Mr. Kevin J. Van Den Oever has embodied Aaron Powers' legacy of excellence for over 33 years of service as an expert and technical lead for Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division, where he has supported performance assessment for critical combat systems, interoperability test and evaluation, and Fleet operational exercises. His efforts have empowered maritime commanders to harness quantifiable data for measures of effectiveness and performance, directly improving the technical capability of American and allied forces. His dedication and commitment will continue to have a lasting effect on the command and its mission as an independent analysis and assessment agent for the warfighter,” said Costlow.

Van Den Oever was humbled and honored to receive this significant award and thanked the many people who influenced and supported him. “Thank you to my parents, my wife and children, teammates and my mentors.”

About the Jerry L. Hayes Award. The Jerry L. Hayes Award was established to pay tribute to the accomplishments of Jerry L. Hayes, founder of the U.S. Navy's Metrology and Calibration Program and the original Technical Director of the U.S. Navy's Metrology Engineering Center, later, the Measurement Science and Engineering Department at NSWC Corona. Mr. Hayes dedicated his career to advancing the quality and technical assessment of measurements within the Navy, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the nation. Award recipients embody his spirit and vision that enable NSWC Corona to execute this critical mission for the Navy.

Robert E. Fritzsche has continued Jerry Hayes' legacy of excellence through his decades of service to NSWC Corona. Fritzsche is recognized for his promotion and advancement of metrology initiatives across the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Naval Enterprise, DoD Services, and in industry. He has been actively advocating, both internally and externally, the need for metrology in directed energy applications such as High Energy Laser (HEL) and High Energy Microwave (HEM). His personal engagement has led to NSWC Corona being designated as the Tri-Service lead for directed energy metrology. He works closely with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and industry partners to champion the development and adoption of quantum-based calibration standards and sensors. He has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the Navy METCAL Program and to the advancement of metrology initiatives across the industry.

“Mr. Robert E. Fritzsche has embodied the Jerry Hayes legacy of excellence in Navy Metrology and Calibration throughout his 30 years of service with Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division. His focus on expanding measurement science roles and the advancement of metrology initiatives have recognized him as a premier expert whose guidance is sought after by the Navy, other Services, our NATO partners and private industry. His dedication and commitment will continue to have a lasting effect on the command and its mission,” said Costlow.

“This means a lot,” said Fritzsche. “I had the opportunity to meet him [Jerry Hayes] and actually get to work with him pretty closely. The man is passionate. He started the METCAL program back in the 50s because he had a vision. My career within this program has allowed me to meet people from across the Navy, the Services, other Agencies and academia. I have had an opportunity to travel throughout this country and around the world as a representative of the Navy METCAL Program. Most importantly, through my work, I was introduced to my wife and now have two beautiful kids. For all of this, I will forever be grateful.”

Naval Surface Warfare Center Corona, headquartered in Norco, California, provides transparency to warfighting readiness through data analytics and assessment, engineering the Fleet’s Live-Virtual-Constructive training network and environment, and assuring the accuracy of measurements. Capt. Khary Hembree-Bey commands the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) field activity with a workforce of more than 3,700 scientists, engineers, contractors and support staff.