Home : Media : News : Saved News Module

ARD site director presented with Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award

By Katie Ellis-Warfield, NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs | Oct. 14, 2015

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 August 2015.

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 Aug. 11.

“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.

“Alan’s leadership, 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.