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NEWS | Dec. 13, 2022

NUWC Division Newport, Navy Band Northeast kickoff holiday season with festive gathering

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport leadership hosted a festive tree lighting ceremony with employees to kickoff the holiday season on Dec. 1. The chilly day was warmed with music by the Navy Band Northeast and with hot chocolate, hot cider, cookies and the singing of traditional carols.

Technical Director Ron Vien and Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings recorded a holiday video message during the event, which soon will be shared with the workforce.

“Folks, like I said last year and it’s still true — I’m extremely proud of the way we’ve executed our tasking throughout 2022 to achieve our mission and our vision of undersea superiority for the U.S. Navy,” Vien said for the recording. “What We Do Matters!”

Hennings talked about his appreciation of Division Newport’s contributions to the nation and its warfighters.

“Ron mentioned our ‘What We Do Matters’ campaign. There are some very real threats out there to world peace and the American way of life and what you do every day helps ensure our nation’s security and our warfighters safety,” he said. “We’ve got Sailors all around the world working tirelessly to defend our country using our systems — the systems that you’ve designed, developed, tested and made safe. These men and women will be out there in harm’s way, relying on NUWC Division Newport technology and services that help make them a better and safer team. Thank you for that.”

The Navy Band Northeast Brass Quartet enhanced the holiday mood by playing traditional carols, as employees sang along. Established in 1974, Navy Band Northeast is based at Naval Station Newport and is one of 11 official U.S. Navy bands worldwide, providing musical support for military ceremonies, recruiting, morale and retention programs, and community relations. Performers with the Brass Quartet include Chief Petty Officer Garrett Stephan, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Hooper, both on the trombone, with Petty Officer 1st Class Chris McGann and Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Brehm, both on the trumpet.

Jeff Prater, director of Division Newport’s Public and Congressional Affairs Division, led the group in singing carols such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Sleigh Ride.”

Tricia Thai, an engineer in the Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department, grabbed a microphone and joined Prater.

“I have always loved music of any kind,” Thai said. “I played instruments growing up and in the past few years, have really found singing to be uplifting and a soulful experience. The caroling for this event was very fun and brought forth warm feelings, amidst the blustery conditions we were seeing.”

“I really enjoyed having the Navy band there,” Caitlin Fitzpatrick of the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department said. “Being able to huddle together against the cold and sing some carols really made it feel like the holidays are right around the corner.”

To warm up, employees jumped in line for a cup of hot cocoa, hot cider and festive holiday treats.

“I like that when these events happen there is usually some kind of snack/beverage,” Ben Reznekervitz of the Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department said. “I’d say I’m pretty food-motivated and I’m not usually one to say no to a free snack.”

Reznekervitz’s co-workers, Liam Bixby and Nima Sherpa joined him at the festivities.

“It is definitely a morale booster whenever leadership finds the time to put these events together,” Bixby said. “Especially around this time of year when the sun goes down so early, it’s nice to see the campus come together for no reason other than to just enjoy each other’s company.”

The trees, decorated in blue and white lights, will be illuminated each night at sunset through the first week of January.

“Right after the tree lighting, I went home and made myself another cup of cocoa and baked a whole bunch of cookies. I was really in the holiday spirit,” Fitzpatrick said.

The holiday video, which will be posted to Division Newport's social media pages, echoed those sentiments.

“So, happy holidays,” Vein said, closing out the video. “My wish for you is joy and wellness throughout these holidays and the new year.”

“Stay safe everyone, and best wishes for another great upcoming year,” Hennings added.

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.