USS FITZGERALD, Western Pacific (NNS) -- The crew of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) received word March 6 while underway in the Western Pacific, that they had been awarded the 2007 Battle Efficiency, (Battle "E") award.
"All of the ships in FDNF (Forward Deployed Naval Forces) are really doing great," said Cmdr. Daniel Dusek, Fitzgerald's commanding officer. "However I'm very proud that Fitzgerald was chosen. It really is a testament to how well we performed throughout 2007. We met all our operational and training goals and we excelled at them, day-in and day-out. It's a great honor to have won the Battle 'E.'"
Fitzgerald was also one of the very few ships to earn "E" awards in all six of the graded warfare areas that make up the Battle "E," according to Capt. Mark Montgomery, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, to which Fitzgerald is assigned.
"Right off the bat, that tells you a lot about the ship," said Montgomery. "That in all six warfare disciplines, they're able to meet the highest level of attainment. The average ship got less than three out of the six, so for a ship to get all six means a lot."
Montgomery added that winning the Battle "E" speaks to the crew's ability to perform beyond the graded evolutions.
"It's excellence in day-to-day operations, not just the inspections and assessments that make up the warfare 'E's, but being out and doing the mission here in the FDNF," Montgomery said. "I think the DESRON 15 ship that wins the Battle 'E' is a real mark of excellence because, yes, you've checked the block on all six of these warfare 'E's, but you've also succeeded in a high op-tempo operational environment."
Lt. Cmdr. John Tolg, Fitzgerald's executive officer, stressed that the award is not about the ship itself, but the Sailors on the deckplates and the chiefs and officers who lead them.
"Battle 'E' is the crew's award," Tolg said. "A lot of people think it's attached to the ship, but the award follows the Sailor. This ship is a piece of steel, and that piece of steel didn't win Battle 'E.' It's the crew onboard that won the award. It's crew-driven, and it's the crew that deserves the credit.
"It's a pride thing for us," said Fire Controlman 1st Class (SW) Chris Martin, of Bellefontaine, Ohio. "Especially being one of the few to win all six warfare 'E's."
"Its part of my command philosophy that we be a warship ready for tasking," said Dusek. "We've proven to ourselves and the rest of the Navy that we are exactly that."
Fitzgerald is one of seven DDGs assigned to DESRON 15 which operates out of in Yokosuka, Japan, as part of the forward deployed naval forces. Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.
For more news from USS Fitzgerald, visit www.navy.mil/local/ddg62/.