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NEWS | July 1, 2022

2021 Annual Awards ceremony highlights critical work done by NUWC Division Newport employees to support the fleet

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport honored 335 employees during the 2021 Annual Awards ceremony held June 23. The event recognizes the exceptional efforts and outstanding achievements of Division Newport employees in 2021, highlighting the critical contributions of the organization to the U.S. Navy.

“The competition is extremely fierce … for some award categories we get well over a dozen nominations,” Division Newport Technical Director Ron Vien said. “It’s a noteworthy accomplishment, so shout out to all the winners of these awards. Also, big shout out to the other folks who were nominated. Maybe you didn’t win an award, but I have to tell you I really appreciate everything you’re doing to keep our nation safe.”

This year, there were more than 350 nominations in 35 award categories — including both teams and individuals — with a cash prize associated with each award. A selection committee comprised of more than 200 colleagues judged the nearly 1,200 nominees over the course of several weeks.

“While our award winners represent the best of 2021, all nominees should be very proud of their successes over the past year. You are truly in elite company,” Division Newport Director of Corporate Communications Jeff Prater, Code 103, who served as master of ceremonies, said. “Let’s not forget the ultimate beneficiary of your hard work is the fleet and these awards highlight that fact that what we do matters!”

As Division Newport Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings told the hundreds gathered for the ceremony, this is something he understands well from his time aboard submarines. He referenced a comment from Brad Neff, Deputy Director, Undersea Warfare Division (OPNAV N97B), Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Warfare Systems) assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), when Neff during a recent visit noted how the medical requirements to serve on a submarine are more rigorous than the requirements for astronauts to go into space.

“I just want to emphasize as a uniform-wearer, it is a harsh environment down there,” Hennings said. “Going down in the water in excess of 800 feet it is an unforgiving environment.

“There’s no way to survive outside your vehicle, and what you all do and bring to the table is that safety. Even though maybe shots aren’t being fired, there are some very perilous areas of the world we operate in that have a very heavy contact density. It is critical that the systems and sensors all work on the submarine.”

Commander/Technical Director Award

The Large Scale Exercise 2021 (LSE 2021) Harpoon and Third Party Targeting (3PT) Team was among those honored for their critical work as the winner of the prestigious Commander/Technical Director Award.

This award is presented to an individual or team for an outstanding contribution to Division Newport in the area of project management, engineering, scientific achievement, cost reduction, life-saving, civic duties or any other appropriate achievement(s) that reflects favorably upon the Division, its mission or its personnel.

Team members include Undersea Warfare (USW) Combat Systems Department employees, Eric Boucher, Anthony Thomas Cataldo, Bryan Enloe, Tim Donahue, Jeremiah Holbrook, Keith Marshall,  William Roman, and Eric Sykes; USW Platforms and Payload Integration Department employees Christopher Aunchman, Caryn Cummings, Jonathan Dell and Gregory Kocab; and USW Electromagnetic Systems Department employee James Goodger.

“This project had several unique challenges and first achievements that the team worked tirelessly on to ensure its success,” Roman said. “We appreciate being recognized by Division Newport with the CO/TD award for our work on this project and our contributions to the fleet.

“This was all about the people. The ability to communicate effectively across internal and external stakeholders and commands was key to the successful execution of this event and is relevant to the success of any project. It mean a lot to me to support technology development from cradle-to-grave and observe how these capabilities benefit the fleet.”

In January 2021, Pacific Fleet requested Division Newport’s support in conducting a Harpoon missile launch during LSE 2021, the largest U.S. Navy exercise since 1991. The sinking exercise focused on demonstrating the long-range, maritime strike capabilities of a Harpoon in a realistic battlespace.

The Division Newport team led the events to support the USS Chicago’s successful war shot firing and hulk target acquisition. The team was responsible for Harpoon readiness, platform preparation, training and overall coordination.

During the exercise, the USS Chicago performed a live-fire event, successfully demonstrating the end-to-end kill chain from target receipt through the combat system and successful weapon firing and hulk impact with the harpoon missile.

“It’s very rewarding — no pun intended — to receive this award and to be recognized for the work that went into supporting this effort,” Holbrook said. “While receiving the award is always nice, more importantly it feels good to be reminded of the work that we do and the direct impact it has for the fleet.

“The products that we develop, validate and deliver to the fleet is directly related to their mission, and ensuring that we can provide them the best product possible is definitely one of the main driving factors.”

A series of special awards were presented after the conclusion of the Annual Awards. These include Meritorious Civilian Service Awards for Gary Huntress and Marie Bussiere, as well as the Society of Women Engineers (New England Shoreline Section) Helen Martha Sternberg for Katherine Hurtado-Da Silva.

David Hague also was recognized as the recipient of the NATO Science and Technology Organization Excellence Award.

“It feels great to win this award. I’ve been working on this project for six to seven years as a continuation from my dissertation in grad school to the Navy. The international collaboration is super fun,” Hague said. “To be successful, it’s important to have an enthusiasm for what you do, and to always look for opportunities and pursue them aggressively. The opportunities will build upon each other with each achievement.”

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.