|Leadership Award Programs|
American aircraft carriers are frequently described as "floating cities" carrying crews of over 5,000 men and women working together under challenging circumstances to keep America strong. Despite awe inspiring technical capabilities that make aircraft carriers extremely valuable assets in America's national defense, it is the leadership demonstrated by the men and women who serve on board that is most impressive to visitors. To recognize and honor some of the men and women who demonstrate outstanding public service leadership on American aircraft carriers, the Stennis Center created a special leadership awards program for the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74), USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75), USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72), USS NIMITZ (CVN 68), USS GEORGE HW BUSH (CVN 77), and USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69).
The leadership awards programs on the aircraft carriers recognize distinguished officers and senior-enlisted personnel who have demonstrated exceptional leadership on board their respective aircraft carriers. The winners are selected through a ship-wide competition.
As part of the Stennis Center's continuing effort to strengthen understanding and relationships between civilian leaders and the military, the award winners travels to Washington, D.C. where they meet with Members of Congress and congressional staff and other civilian leaders. As the leadership award winners are honored and learn about how policy is made in Washington, the civilian leaders have an opportunity to learn about the life, values, culture and institutions of the military through visits with the leadership award winners and their spouses. Including spouses in discussions with leaders in Washington helps further understanding of contributions made by the family members of those who serve in the American military.
The leadership awards program on each of the carriers is recognized as an opportunity to honor individuals who are representative of the leadership throughout the ships that is necessary to successfully perform the complex missions of aircraft carriers. The Stennis Center takes pride in being able to present the awards on behalf of American civilians as an expression of gratitude for the essential service provided by the men and women in military uniform.
A total of six awards are presented annually to the Senior Officer, Junior Officer, Chief Petty Officer, First Class Petty Officer, Junior Petty Officer, and Bluejacket who demonstrate the finest leadership and most closely exemplify the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. The namesake for each award is a heroic or successful mentor selected from the long and colorful history of the eight warships bearing the name USS ENTERPRISE. The period for each award will extend for one year from 25 November (the CVN-65 commissioning date) of each year, and an awardee must have been assigned to the ship for the entire award period.
The Admiral James L. Holloway III Leadership Award -- presented to the outstanding senior officer (O-4 or O-5). Admiral James L. Holloway III was the third Commanding Officer of USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), serving from 17 July 1965 through 11 July 1967. His thirty-nine years of service on active duty encompassed combat in three wars and culminated in service as the twentieth Chief of Naval Operations from 1974-1978.
The Stephen Decatur Leadership Award -- presented to the outstanding junior officer (O-1, O-2, or O-3). Under the command of Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, the third ENTERPRISE (a small, 12 gun clipper schooner) was deployed to the Mediterranean in 1801 as the smallest member of a four-ship squadron assigned to protect commerce from the Barbary States of Morrocco, Algiers , Tunis , and Tripoli . Tiny ENTERPRISE handed the Barbary Pirates their first defeat against the better armed ship TRIPOLI . Lieutenant Decatur "repeatedly raked his opponent, and, without losing a man, finally forced her surrender with 50 of her crew of 84 killed or wounded." On 31 October 1803 the PHILIDELPHIA, a 36-gun frigate, ran aground on an uncharted shoal while pursuing a small craft in Tripoli harbor. Surrounded by gunboats, it surrendered and the Tripolitans later salvaged her on a flood tide. During the evening of 16 February 1804, Lieutenant Decatur embarked in a captured sixty-foot Maltese ketch, renamed her INTREPID, and manned her with a hand-picked crew of eighty-three, including seventy-five ENTERPRISE Sailors. Hiding the crew below decks, he navigated into Tripoli Harbor with the assistance of a Maltese pilot and approached the PHILADELPHIA . The pilot explained they had lost their anchor in a storm and requested permission to moor alongside. "Each of the boarders knew his part well and within twenty minutes their firebrands had PHILADELPHIA blazing from stem to stern." Evading shots from shore batteries and gunboats, Lieutenant Decatur's crew rowed out of the harbor and proceeded to report the destruction. "The business being so well planned not a man was killed or wounded on our side. The Tripolitans had twenty killed, the others made their escape by jumping overboard after the ship was afire." This was labeled "the most daring act of the age" by the British Lord Nelson.
The Chief G. F. Lawhon Leadership Award -- presented to the outstanding chief petty officer (E-7, E-8, or E-9). On 16 January 1942, just a little more than a month after Pearl Harbor, the seventh USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6) was steaming in the Pacific Ocean on her way to support the reinforcement of Somoa in the early days of our nation�s participation in World War II. An SBD Dauntless, the workhorse bomber of the Battle of Midway, landed on her flight deck. The landing Dauntless tore loose an arresting wire and plunged off the deck edge into the catwalk. Sadly, the bomber's left wheel struck a chief petty officer in the head and he died later that day. The chief's name was G. F. Lawhon, an Aviation Machinist's Mate who had put the ship in commission in 1938. He was one of the solid, experienced key men who hold a ship together and make it work. Chief Lawhon had devised the first system for recovering the tow strap from a catapulted plane as it becomes airborne, and he had helped perfect the precisely stressed shearing pins in the flight deck barriers on those older carriers, which did not have angled flight decks. Chief Lawhon's death was the first of World War II on USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6).
The Billy Hawk Leading Petty Officer Award -- presented to the outstanding first class petty officer. The awardee will be the ENTERPRISE Sailor of the Year. Many ENTERPRISE heroes emerged on 14 January 1969, when the sudden detonation of a Zuni rocket on the flight deck killed 28 and injured 343 men. One of these heroes Flight Deck LPO Billy Hawk. After the detonation, fuel poured from aircraft, causing a towering fury of fire and heat that detonated more weapons. Without our modern fixed AFFF system, manned hose teams were the only defense. In all, 18 weapons detonated, blowing 8 holes in the flight deck and damaging or destroying 35 aircraft. Petty Officer Hawk led a group of men to remove 3 aircraft from Elevator #3, creating a firebreak and preventing the spread of fire to the island. Billy Hawk then proceeded to extinguish fires on Elevator #4.
The Boatswain's Mate Second Class George H. Smith Leadership Award -- presented to the outstanding junior petty officer (E-4 or E-5). The awardee will be the ENTERPRISE Junior Sailor of the Year. Boatswain's Mate Second Class George H. Smith manned a machine gun in the port catwalk on the afternoon of 1 February 1942, as USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6) concluded a successful engagement against the enemy in the South Pacific. She recovered her aircraft and steamed at thirty knots to Pearl Harbor, her homeport. Suddenly five twin-engine Japanese bombers in an open V broke out of the low clouds on the starboard bow and attacked in a shallow glide. One bomb burst about thirty feet off the port quarter. Fragments tore into the ship, cutting a gasoline line, igniting the spilled fuel, and shattering Petty Office Smith's leg. Smith continued to fire until the action was over and his shipmates hauled him off to sickbay. He died there two hours later, the first combat casualty in the ENTERPRISE .
The Lieutenant Richard H. Best Award -- presented to the outstanding airman, seaman, or fireman. The awardee will be the ENTERPRISE Bluejacket of the Year. Lieutenant Richard H. Best commanded the (VB 6) BLACK RAMS, who flew Dauntless bombers from USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6) during the Battle of Midway (4-6 June 1942). He can be appreciated for his physical courage, as well as modesty and respect for his teammates. He led the attack against the AKAGI, the lead carrier of the Japanese battle group, flying over her flight deck at 1800 feet. "I pulled out and rolled over so close to that ship that the Japanese could have thrown a monkey wrench at me." The BLACK RAMS payload ignited loaded enemy planes as well as bombs and torpedoes left topside, creating a "hell's casserole." Ever-modest, Best credits torpedo plane crews from other squadrons, particularly those embarked on USS HORNET, for bringing down the Japanese fighter cover and clearing the way for the dive bombers, sacrificing their lives in the process. Best also praised his commanders for providing inspiration and motivation essential to mission accomplishment. In particular, he credited Admiral Halsey with ensuring his battle group engaged the enemy "viciously and vigorously" by growing a "Get them" attitude in the ENTERPRISE crew all the way from the lowest E1 to the Captain. Lieutenant Best's physical courage at Midway cost him his naval career. A soured supply of oxygen burned his lungs during his final run, requiring him to dive to a breathable altitude. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he was discharged from the naval service by the end of the year.
USS ENTERPRISE Award Winners
LCDR Charles E. Ardinger - 2012 Admiral James L. Holloway II Award
CDR Edward Galvin - 2011 Admiral James L. Holloway II Award
CDR Mark Metzger- 2010 Admiral James L. Holloway II Award
James P. Mosman - 2009 Admiral James L. Holloway III Leadership Award
LCDR Megan Thomas- 2008 Admiral James L. Holloway III Leadership Award
LCDR Marshall G. Riggall - 2007 Admiral James L. Holloway III Leadership Award
CWO3 John L. Gilbert - 2006 Stephen Decatur Leadership Award
CDR Richard Rogers - 2005 Admiral James L. Holloway III Award
ABH1 (AW/SW) Scott Bowman - 2004 Billy Hawk Leading Petty Officer Award
LT Larry Watson- 2003 Stephen Decatur Leadership Award
AD1 Lora Eury - 2002 Billy Hawk Leading Petty Officer Award
AT1 (AW/SW) Robert S. Pickering - 2001 Billy Hawk Leading Petty Officer Award
ET1 (SW/AW) Leslie E. McGuire - 2000 Billy Hawk Leading Petty Officer Award
Awards are presented on the USS NIMITZ to recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained superior performance and exhibited the most exceptional leadership skills. The CINCPAC Award is presented to an outstanding officer, the 5-Star Award is presented to an outstanding chief petty officer, the Pacific Thunder Award is presented to an outstanding petty officer, the Senior Sailor of the Year is presented to the number one sailor on the ship for the calendar year. Also awarded are the Junior Sailor of the Year which is presented to the number one junior sailor on the ship for the calendar year, and the Blue Jacket of the Year Award which is presented to an outstanding airman, seaman, or fireman. The awards are presented annually on or about February 24 which is the birthday of the late Chester Nimitz.
LT Jeff Tomaszewski - 2012 CINCPAC Award
LCDR John Halttunen - 2011 CINCPAC Award
LCDR Walter Taylor - 2010 CINCPAC Award
LCDR Drew Klosterman - 2009 CINCPAC Award
PSCS (SW) Patricia G. Morones - 2008 5-Star Award
LCDR T. J. Zerr - 2007 CINCPAC Award
LT Regina Rogers - 2006 CINCPAC Award
LCDR Robert B. Johns - 2005 CINCPAC Award
The Outstanding Blue Jacket Award is presented to an outstanding airman, seaman, or fireman. The Petty Officer Award is presented to an outstanding petty officer, and the Chief Award is presented to an outstanding chief.
USS HARRY S. TRUMAN Award Winners
CRT1 Aaron Grant - 2011 Buck Stops Here Outstanding Petty Officer Award
MM1 Kerry Claiborne - 2010 Buck Stops Here Outstanding Petty Officer Award
ABF2 Malisha Nichole Donahue-Fields - 2009 Buck Stops Here Outstanding Petty Officer Award
IC1 Michael James Bishop - 2008 Buck Stops Here Outstanding Petty Officer Award
LCDR Daniel J. August - 2007 Truman State University Leadership Award
AO3 Mathew T. Houtman - 2006 Buck Stops Here Outstanding Blue Jacket Award
Three awards are presented on the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN. These awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained superior performance and exhibited the most exceptional leadership skills.
The Statesman Leadership Award is presented to an outstanding officer, the Abraham Lincoln Union Leadership Award is presented to an outstanding chief petty officer, and the Abraham Lincoln Liberty Leadership Award is presented to an outstanding petty officer.
The awards are presented annually on or about February 12, which is the birthday of the late Abraham Lincoln.
USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN Award Winners
MA1 William N. Matteson - 2012 "Liberty" Leadership Award
PS1(SW/AW) Kathryn Benjamin - 2011 "Liberty" Leadership Award
ET1 Jason Buonomo - 2010 "Liberty" Leadership Award
ABH3 Sean Bibby - 2009 "Liberty" Leadership Award
HT1 Dwaine Bryan - 2007 "Liberty" Leadership Award
Awards are presented on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER to recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained superior performance and exhibited exceptional leadership skills. The awards will be presented to individuals who most exemplify the exceptional vision, integrity, courage, commitment to duty and hard work that marked the career of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Five Star Award is presented to an outstanding Officer. The Waging Peace Award is presented to an outstanding Chief/Senior Chief/Master Chief Petty Officer.
The awards will be given annually on or about October 14, the birthday of the late President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER Award Winners
LCDR Stephan A. Folsom - 2012 "Five Star" Award
LCDR Brady J. Drennan - 2011 "Five Star" Award
LCDR Justin Issler - 2010 "Five Star" Award
CWO2 Roy Streeter, Jr. - 2009 "Five Star" Award
Awards are presented on the USS GEORGE HW BUSH to recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained superior performance and exhibited the most exceptional leadership skills.
The award is presented annually on or about June 12 which is the birthday of President Bush '41.
USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH Award Winners
Lt. Michael Minervini - 2011-2012 President George H. W. Bush Leadership Award
LCDR Christopher Morris - 2010 President George H. W. Bush Leadership Award
LT Jamaal D. Lofton - 2009 President George H. W. Bush Leadership Award
LT Thomas L. Decker - 2008 President George H. W. Bush Leadership Award
The Look Ahead and Straight Furrow awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated sustained superior performance and exhibited the most exceptional leadership skills.
The Straight Furrow award is named after a quote by ship namesake, Mississippi Senator John C. Stennis, who said, "I want to plow a straight furrow right down to the end of my row". The quote is a reference to Mississippi farmers who had to work hard and keep looking forward in order to plow a straight line in the fields. It recognizes an enlisted person or officer who best demonstrates the values and principles of honor, courage, commitment, foresight and integrity.
The Look Ahead award is derived from a motto Senator John C. Stennis used to remind himself of the importance of focusing on the future.
USS JOHN C. STENNIS Award Winners
LCDR Edward Jaso- 2012 Straight Furrow Award
CDR Dennis Warren - 2009 Straight Furrow Award
CDR Timothy Pfannenstein - 2008 Straight Furrow Award
CDR Scott Robertson - 2007 Straight Furrow Award
CDR Pete Hall - 2006 Look Ahead Award
MMCS (SW/AW) David W. Wisniewski - 2005 Look Ahead Award
MMCS (AW/SW) Daniel Patrick Shinners - 2004 Look Ahead Award
ATC (AW/SW) Ed Fink - 2003 Look Ahead Award
ASCS (AW/SW) Angel Afan - 2002 Look Ahead Award
MMCS Vincent Murray - 2001 Look Ahead Award
BMCS Ramon Velasco - 2000 Look Ahead Award
BMC Vincent Fenty - 1999 Look Ahead Award
AOCM Dennis Costa - 1998 Look Ahead Award
ATCS Frank Kadi - 1997 Look Ahead Award
CDR Chuck Jefferson - 1996 Straight Furrow Award
"The Admiral" and "Swamp Fox" Leadership Awards recognize the individuals who have demonstrated sustained superior performance and exhibited the most exceptional leadership skills over the award period. The awards will be given annually on or about November 18, the birthday of the late United States Representative Carl Vinson of Georgia.
The Swamp Fox Award -- By his colleagues in the House, Representative Carl Vinson was known as the "Swamp Fox" due to his masterful grasp of parliamentary procedure and virtual unerring strategy in getting important legislation through Congress. (Recipients are Chief Petty Officers)
The Admiral Award -- Representative Carl Vinson was known by the military establishment as "the Admiral" because of his early affection for the United States Navy. (Recipients are officers)
LT Paul Nickell - 2011 Admiral Award Winner
CWO3 Charles Sullivan - 2010 Admiral Award Winner
CWO4 Mark Swarringim - 2008 Admiral Award Winner
LCDR (Select) Dave Walker - 2007 Admiral Award Winner
CWO3 Kenneth W. Knowlton - 2006 Admiral Award Winner
HTCS (SW/AW) David A. Fish - 2005 Swamp Fox Award Winner
LT Jose Fernando Montes - 2004 Admiral Award Winner