DAHLGREN, Va. –
Ronald “Ron” Hunt is ending his career at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) with a bang. A big bang. For several weeks last summer, the senior engineer with over 40 years of service at Dahlgren experienced his most memorable assignment while working aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during the ship’s Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST).
The first-in-class aircraft carrier is the first carrier to go through an FSST since 1987. Over four months, the USS Ford was subjected to three separate underwater blasts delivered by 40,000-pound bombs. Each detonation occurred closer to the ship than the last. The Shock Trials assessed the ship’s resiliency and ability to maintain operations under extreme combat conditions. “This is the most fun I’ve had on any assignment in my almost 42 years,” Hunt said. “It’s cool to go out to sea and crawl around one of these advanced carriers. It’s just impressive.”
Hunt monitored the ship’s combat systems as part of the CVN 78 Full Ship Shock Trial Team. For their work, the Department of the Navy (DoN) rewards the team with a DoN Test Team Award. Part of the DoN Test and Evaluation Program, the award recognizes the team for providing exceptional technical expertise and coordinating a critical live-fire test and evaluation event. The nationwide multi-organizational team includes members from several Naval Sea Systems Command Warfare Centers and Department of Defense support organizations. The citation notes that the team worked tirelessly to execute “the most complex and largest scale FSST since 1987, overcoming several obstacles while completing the event during the COVID-19 crisis.”
The Mississippi native originally wanted to enlist in the Navy after high school but was denied due to deafness in his right ear. Hunt got a second chance at pursuing his dream while earning a bachelor’s in electrical engineering at Mississippi State University when his co-op advisor asked if he was interested in interviewing with the Navy for a job in Dahlgren. Unfamiliar with the area, Hunt got out a map only to find Dahlgren wasn’t on it.
Hunt found his way to NSWCDD as a co-op student in May 1980. Upon arrival, he was unsure if he had made the right decision after leaving a higher-paying job in the produce department of his hometown Kroger grocery store. An open house event his first weekend here changed his mind. “They took us over to the main range and fired a 16-inch gun. That’s the first time and only time I’ve ever experienced a concussion wave,” he said. “After seeing that three- or four-story fireball come out of the end of the gun, I knew then I was in the right place.”
As his career winds to an end, Hunt hasn’t decided what to do in retirement but says his “honey-do list” is growing. “I’ve been a kid in a candy store here,” Hunt said, reflecting on his long career. “I’ve enjoyed working with the advanced technology and the terrific folks I’ve met. This is why I wanted to work for the Navy.”
Please join in congratulating Hunt for his professional contributions and thank him for his 40-plus years in service to our nation.