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NEWS | Nov. 3, 2021

Making a Difference: Reserve Officers Association’s Junior Office of the Year Award Goes to Lt. Nathalie Behn

By Jason Scarborough, Public Affairs Specialist Norfolk Naval Shipyard

The Association of the United States Navy (AUSN) and Reserve Officers Association has honored Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) very own Lt. Nathalie Behn, SurgeMain Deputy Officer in Charge (OIC), Fleet Maintenance Shops Department Head and NNSY Docking Officer as Junior Officer of the Year.

Having earned a Master’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Behn joined the Navy in March 2016 and entered into the Engineering Duty Officer Qualification Program. Over the past three years, while assigned to Navy Reserve SurgeMain Norfolk, Behn continually trained herself and her Sailors to be ready for their mobilization assignments in forward-deployed ship maintenance. Behn took the initiative to train for heavy lift projects, and dedicated herself in many additional  drills to become fully qualified as a Docking Observer and as a Fire Safety Officer at NNSY. 

Commanding Officer, Navy Reserve SurgeMain Norfolk, Commander Mike Sullivan said, “In my humble opinion, Lt. Behn represents the best of the Navy--she's a talented professional making the most of the opportunities in front of her, and she's always working to open avenues for her fellow Sailors to make a difference in the Fleet.  She is incredibly bright, motivated, inquisitive, organized and disciplined, and she brings others with her to the fight!  Initiative and preparation are the two bold words printed on her calling card.  She finds an opportunity to make a major contribution, formulates a plan, and charges ahead with positive energy.”

Behn’s personal dedication to professional development in direct support of mobilization meant that she was highly trained and ready to rapidly qualify as NNSY’s Primary Docking Officer when she was mobilized in 2020. In that capacity, she has held the primary responsibility for safely docking and undocking several submarines and one aircraft carrier, and has earned high praise from two Shipyard Commanders for her exceptional performance, intense work ethic, and outstanding attention to detail.

Behn’s reputation for energy, initiative, infectious enthusiasm, and disciplined focus on execution made her SurgeMain’s selected OIC for a 72-hour quick-reaction at-sea pilot program on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). In January 2020, she embarked on IKE as the OIC, with four SurgeMain Sailors, supporting surge maintenance in the engineering department during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX). She immediately immersed her team into multiple engineering divisions and managed her Sailors’ daily work. 

“Effective SurgeMain support has helped NNSY shops, codes, and ship maintenance projects improve availability schedules, added maintenance capability, increased efficiency, avoided contractor costs, and furthered Sailor depot maintenance training. Five submarine availabilities, two Moored Training Ship conversion projects, and two carrier availabilities received substantial assistance. Under Behn’s leadership, during the recent mobilization of 400 Sailors, SurgeMain Sailors provided over 55,000 man-days of production, completed 15,500 days of training and attained 450 certifications to perform NNSY shipyard maintenance,” said Sullivan.

“Congratulations to LT Nathalie Behn for this well-deserved recognition, and thank you for the care, commitment and initiative you have shown to our ONE TEAM and Navy supporting SurgeMain and our docking efforts!” said Shipyard Commander, Captain Dianna Wolfson. 

The Reserve Organization of America (ROA) is a national, all-service, all-rank organization centered on maintaining a strong national defense capability and the AUSN is a Navy-focused outgrowth of that organization. The AUSN and ROA, formerly known as the Reserve Officers Association, continue the proud legacy of annually honoring one Navy Selected Reservist as the Reserve Officers Association's Junior Officer of the Year.