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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2022

Division Newport wins several NAVSEA Excellence Awards

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Several Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport teams and one individual recently won Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Excellence Awards for fiscal year 2021, which recognizes those employees who have made significant contributions to the NAVSEA enterprise.

NUWC Division Newport’s AN/BYG-1 Virtual Twin Team, Team Melon, Tracy Warila, Dr. Lauren Freeman, and the Public Affairs team won awards and were honored during a virtual ceremony held on July 20.

“These outstanding wins demonstrate the breadth and scope of the vital technical and functional capabilities provided by the Warfare Centers in support of the Naval Sea Systems Command, the Navy, and the nation,” Warfare Centers Commander Rear Adm. Kevin Byrne said in a message announcing the winners. “Our teammates won 18 individual awards and 16 team awards in 24 award categories across the NAVSEA enterprise. Like you, we could not be more proud and impressed.” 

The AN/BYG-1 Virtual Twin Team won in the Excellence in Acquisition Award category. The team ensured the submarine fleet’s cyber-resilience, while reducing systems’ space requirements and making system upgrades and maintenance more efficient and effective. “Their success is credited to extensive planning and logistics, creativity, superior technical acumen, and team synergy that allowed all aspects of the project to be seamlessly integrated into the fleet,” the award states.

Their efforts resulted in the Virtual Twin Program of Record for installation on submarine platforms in 2021. “The AN/BYG-1 vTwin further advances the notion of hardware independence by transforming the entire combat system using state-of-the-practice technologies and processing techniques,” the award states.

Team members include: from Division Newport’s Combat Systems Department, Scott Aubuchon, Daniel Barron, Bradford Carvahlo, John Casey, Vathana Chan, Matthew Cote, Daniel Foley, Jeremiah Holbrook, Richard Huot, Christopher Plezia, Michael Psikakos, Aimee Racine, Christon Riendeau, Edward Rishmay, William Roman, Scott Rideleau, Anthony Soscia, Phong Tran and retired team members John McMahon and Edgargo Ramos; John Bender from the Undersea Warfare (USW) Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department; and Ibrahim Fofanah of the Corporate Operations Department.

Dr. Lauren Freeman of the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department, is a winner in the Excellence in Science category for her “outstanding contributions as the principal investigator on a team that developed passive sensing capabilities to detect ultra-quiet unmanned vehicles through the analysis of cues from nature,” the award states. 

Working with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), Freeman leads a program known as Passive Acoustic Detection through Reef Ecological Soundscapes (PADRES). Analyzing the natural bio-acoustic response to disturbances in the ocean, “her system offers a stealthy and robust method for passive acoustic monitoring, and offers future-looking ultra-quiet vehicle detection capabilities that has been successfully demonstrated in various environments,” the award states.

PADRES incorporates the idea of using animals in their natural setting and observing their behavior in order to identify when they sense tactically relevant disturbances. Freeman also recently won the “prestigious” Assistant Secretary of the Navy (ASN) Research, Development and Acquisition (RD&A) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers for the Year 2022 Award in the Individual Scientist category.

Division Newport’s Team Melon is the winner in the Environmental Excellence Award category. As part of a Division Newport In-House Laboratory Independent Research project, “Investigating Underwater Explosions (UNDEX) Effects on the Marine Mammal Melon,” this team of marine biologists and engineers was responsible for designing and executing a novel set of experiments to understand the vulnerability of the marine mammal melon to damage from impulsive loading when exposed to UNDEX. The melon, located outside the skull of toothed whales, is a key organ for communication and echolocation. Damage from nearby UNDEX may compromise the ability to navigate, communicate, hunt and ultimately survive, however the melon has not been studied in the context of UNDEX vulnerability. “The team’s successful experiments to understand the vulnerability of the melon have resulted in many achievements, including new mechanical testing capabilities, a novel screening method for identifying potential damage, and the first successful 3D digital image correlation experiments performed at Division Newport,” the award states. By the conclusion of their project, they provided the research community with previously unknown findings. The winning team includes: Rachel Blanchard of the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department; Emily Guzas of the USW Platforms and Payload Integration Department; Monica DeAngelis, Corporate Operations Department; Daniel Perez Jr., of the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department; Eric Warner, USW Weapons, Vehicles and Defensive Systems Department; and retired team members Lauren Marshall and Thomas Fetherston II.

Division Newport employees, Jackeline Diapis, Customer Advocate Office, and Tracy Warila, Corporate Operations Department, are winners in the NAVSEA Warfare Centers “Leadership in a Diverse Environment (LDE)” Team. The team won for their “dedicated efforts to champion diversity and inclusion as strategic, business, and ethical imperatives. They emphasize the importance of every employees' role in eliminating barriers, tackling conscious/unconscious biases, and creating an environment that helps others realize their goals” the award states.

In December 2021, the team hosted an LDE virtual event, "Unleashing the Power of Inclusion and Engagement through Intentional Leadership at All Levels — Listen and Learn." The Warfare Centers Divisions have also conducted “Lean-In Circles,” mini-LDE inspired local events, diversity and inclusion training sessions for supervisors and the workforce, and a video training series to further the tenets of LDE. Other team members include: Ashlee Floyd, Naval Surface Systems Command (NSWC) Carderock Division; Tara Roane, NSWC Dahlgren Division; Dr. Linda Nichols, NUWC Headquarters; and retired employee Pamela Lisiewicz.

Division Newport’s Public Affairs team also received an Excellence Award for their comprehensive multi-tiered communications campaigns in 2021. Team members include Jeffrey Prater, director, Public Affairs Office, and Carly Diette, deputy public affairs officer, both employees in the Corporate Operations Department.

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.