WEST BETHESDA, Md. —
Alan Griffitts, site director at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) Acoustic Research Detachment (ARD), was presented with the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award during a surprise award ceremony in West Bethesda, Maryland, Oct. 9, 2015.
The Navy Meritorious
Civilian Service Award is given to Department of the Navy civilian employees
for their meritorious service or contributions resulting in high value or
benefits for the Navy. Griffitts was cited for his display of exceptional
leadership during two significant forest fires near Bayview, Idaho, in July and
Due to his innovative
thinking and collaborative expertise, Griffitts was able to ensure ARD
personnel and facilities remained unharmed during these fires. “You’re a great person
taking care of the facilities and the people,” NSWCCD Commanding Officer Capt. Rich
Blank told Griffitts as he presented the award.
Griffitts was unaware
that he was receiving this award. He was called to West Bethesda for a meeting
with Blank, NSWCCD Technical Director Dr. Tim Arcano, Signatures Department
Head Dr. Paul Shang and Acoustics Signatures Technology Division Head Marylou
McNamara in the captain’s office. “I thought I had a great project coming, but
this was even better,” Griffitts said.
The Cape Horn fire
started July 4. It took two weeks to contain the 1,300-acre fire. The Three-Sisters
forest fire started Aug. 4 within three miles from Bayview, threatening the
WIGWAM facility and associated power cable. The fire came within 500 yards of
the WIGWAM and 100 feet of the power cable. Both were unscathed due to air assets
dropping water and retardant onto the fire. The 228-acre fire was contained
“As we were getting
updates in West Bethesda and keeping NAVSEA headquarters apprised, it became
clear these were extraordinary events in Bayview,” Arcano said. “Alan never wavered
leading his team and coordinating with the first responders. It’s a privilege
to recognize him formally with this award for what he did for his community and
for the Navy.”
Griffitts worked with
federal, state and local personnel to safeguard ARD’s unique measurement
capabilities to ensure that critical testing could continue on schedule. “For
nearly every hour that I spent coordinating the ARD support for the Cape Horn
and Three-Sisters fires this summer, there was a dedicated team of true
professionals standing ready to support in any way possible to help protect
critical Navy assets, support the heroes fighting the fires and protect the
community in any manner requested of them,” Griffitts said.
“The real honor for me
was to be standing alongside these individuals, through long nights and endless
hours, and to see the results of their efforts, which included critical Navy
assets being preserved, the mission of the ARD being sustained and people’s
homes being saved. Their efforts changed lives for the better,” he said.
initiative and ability to collaborate successfully with fire-fighting officials
were critical to ensuring that ARD facilities remained unharmed during the
fires. Moreover, because of Alan’s tireless efforts, there was minimal
disruption to ongoing critical testing in support of the Ohio Replacement
Program,” McNamara said.