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NEWS | Nov. 22, 2021

NSWCDD DNA Employees Receive Navy’s Fifth-Highest Civilian Honor

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

For their superior performance and technical leadership, eight employees across Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Dam Neck Activity (NSWCDD DNA) were recently named recipients of the Navy’s fifth-highest civilian honor.

"These individuals exemplify the leadership, technical expertise, professionalism and dedication to duty that are cornerstones of government service," said David Richardson, NSWCDD DNA senior civilian and Readiness and Training Systems Department head. "Whether accomplishing our mission from home station or abroad, they have excelled in their respective technical areas and they have gone above and beyond to provide outstanding support to our Sailors and other stakeholders despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are all deserving of this recognition from the U.S. Navy and beyond. Kudos and congratulations to these outstanding Dam Neck Activity professionals."

The Civilian Service Achievement Medal (CSAM) is awarded to Department of the Navy and Marine Corps civilians for exceptional sustained performance or a specific outstanding achievement. The medal recognizes civilians at the equivalent level of the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal given to service members.

Installation technician Jason Bergquist received the medal for his professional leadership and computer program installation expertise. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bergquist spent 66 days overseas in 2021 providing Aegis combat system support to multiple ships. During this time, Bergquist also remotely provided expert technical assistance to other Aegis ships and land-based sites.

Activity Chief Information Officer and Information Technology Division Head Kelly Goodman was recognized for her exemplary leadership and dedication to the mission. The award citation credits Goodman’s leadership leading up to the triennial audit of her division’s cybersecurity programs. The citation goes on to quote NSWCDD chief of staff as saying that the inspection grades for the audit were the highest she had ever seen.

Christian Dasta Irizarry, computer program installation engineer, received the CSAM for his efforts providing technical support for virtual test environment and SPY-6 radar work for the Advanced Radar Detection Laboratory at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii. The award citation further commends Dasta Irizarry for his outstanding work ethic, commitment and initiative that exceeds expectations of someone at his junior professional level.   

Combat Systems Installation and Integration Installation Engineer Allison Kunz received the award for her successful computer program installations and technical leadership throughout 2021. Lauded as “a positive example to others of service-beyond-self,” Kunz spent 92 consecutive days—including 66 outside of the continental United States—executing computer program installations on Aegis-equipped ships. The award citation notes her distinctive efforts ensured “Aegis ships were officially equipped with critically necessary, upgraded Combat System software capabilities.”

Fleet Support Engineering Technician James White received the CSAM for technical supervision and expertise he provided on-site in Yokosuka, Japan from January 2021 to May 2021. Navigating the obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, White supervised nine on-board computer program installations and troubleshot issues on two other ships. Additionally, White provided critical expertise on weapons system issues beyond his job duties and instructed ship’s crews on Aegis weapon system maintenance and operation.

On-Site Installation Coordinator Nicole Yeates was awarded the Navy’s fifth-highest civilian honor for her outstanding efforts supporting Navy surface ship USS Howard (DDG 83) throughout spring 2021. Due to her previous experience and positive reputation, Yeates was requested by name to support Howard. Yeates identified and addressed weapon system issues and served as a subject matter expert on maintenance and operation of the ship’s Aegis weapon system. Yeates was praised for her ability, technical diligence in reporting and drive.

Self Defense Systems Safety Branch Deputy Portfolio Director Loretta “Lori” Bowling received the CSAM for her unflinching enthusiasm to tackle programmatic challenges. Despite the year’s COVID-19 pandemic hardships, Bowling excelled in defining the programmatic baseline for the freshly established branch’s portfolio of nine safety projects and a team of new project managers. Bowling’s award citation also notes her exemplary performance in ensuring mission-essential safety work was adequately funded and planned.  

Also from the Self Defense Systems Safety Branch, System Safety Practitioner Dana Sevier was awarded the CSAM for her leadership and performance in developing NSWCDD DNA’s first hexavalent chromium waiver. The waiver enabled the initial deployment of a new laser capability onboard USS Portland. When Sevier was tasked with navigating the authorization challenges associated with the waiver, she successfully executed. Moreover, Sevier diligently documented the process and trained the workforce to enable the timely procurement of future waivers using cost-effective best practices.

This is the first year that NSWCDD DNA employees were awarded the CSAM. The medal was established in 2018 and first awarded in 2019.