DAHLGREN, Va. –
After days of extreme wind, conditions were “absolutely awesome” along the Potomac River Test Range (PRTR) gun line for the change of command ceremony, according to Capt. Stephen “Casey” Plew. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) said farewell to Plew and hello to incoming Commanding Officer Capt. Philip “Phil” Mlynarski, April 29.
The crowd of friends, families and NSWCDD leaders and employees was joyous for the ceremony, with sounds of the Quantico Marine Corps Band filling the air.
Since 1918, NSWCDD has led research and development for new and developing technologies for the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense (DoD). Like the PRTR gun line plays a major role in the research, test, development and evaluation drives at NSWC Dahlgren Division, so does the commanding officer.
“I have been stationed at a couple places where I knew that the work that everyone was doing was going to impact the fleet,” reflected Plew, ahead of Friday’s ceremony. “This is one of those places. Everyone here knows the work they do has a direct impact and if they don’t do it right, something bad happens. So thank you, from the bottom of this operator’s heart. I sleep better because you guys are here.”
Plew started at NSWCDD in April 2019. Just 11 months after his assumption of command, the country moved into a maximum telework situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two years later, the workforce returned to offices. Despite the lack of face-to-face interactions during the pandemic, Plew focused on NSWCDD’s business portfolio.
“Capt. Plew will leave a lasting legacy at Dahlgren, primarily in his pursuit of business rigor,” said NSWCDD Technical Director Dale Sisson Jr., SES. “His direct efforts in bringing a detailed systems engineering mindset to bear on the business portfolio, including in contracts, the comptroller’s office and in corporate operations, will have lasting positive effects.”
Presiding over the change of command ceremony was Mark Oesterreich, Chief of Staff at Naval Surface/Undersea Warfare Centers Headquarters.
“The bottom line is thanks to Casey’s leadership, Dahlgren continued to provide unmatched solutions and systems for our ultimate customer – the sailor,” said Oesterreich, who oversaw the event in place of Rear Adm. Kevin Byrne. “Command doesn’t just happen. It’s the ultimate vote of confidence by one’s superiors. Seniority won’t get you the job, but a record of excellence will.”
“Capt. Plew’s success has been no accident,” recalled NSWCDD Chief of Staff Terri Gray. “He instituted a solid framework for business processes, operations, and project management. As a result of his efforts, the NSWC Dahlgren Division team has delivered warfare systems to protect our nation and defeat our adversaries.”
Assuming the top military office at NSWCDD is Mlynarski, who comes to NSWCDD from Moorestown, New Jersey, where he served as the AEGIS technical representative.
“I am most excited to become a part of this premiere team, and as I’m learning, one of - if not the highest – performing commands in the entire Navy,” said Mlynarski.