NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Albany (SSN 753) was officially presented the 2010 Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") award during a ceremony at Pier 3 aboard Naval Station Norfolk, Va., March 9.
Capt. Eugene Sievers, commander, Submarine Squadron (COMSUBRON) Six, formally presented the award to the crew.
"It is my pleasure to present the 2010 Battle Efficiency Award to the officers and crew of USS Albany," said Sievers. "This award signifies that for the year, you were the best ship in the squadron at delivering combat readiness. It is not indicative of any single inspection result or individual achievement, but the consistent readiness you displayed. The ship excelled while deployed to the European Theater producing extraordinary results during missions vital to national security, allied exercises and theater cooperation engagement.
"You also excelled by overcoming maintenance challenges keeping the ship ready to execute her schedule under the tightest of fiscal and maintenance resource constraints. These results in themselves may be enough to warrant special recognition; but the most telling achievement in my mind is that at the end of a very difficult operational period, the crew earned recognition on the fleet retention honor roll. As you prepare the ship for another unique mission, deployment to the shipyard, I know you will continue to deliver the highest levels of performance and return this national asset back to the fleet in the highest state of readiness."
Cmdr. Thomas "TR" Buchanan, the USS Albany commanding officer, was enthused to accept the award, but wanted the crew to remain focused on current operations.
"This award is validation for a year-long of hard work and perseverance," said Buchanan. "I am immensely proud of my team for their stellar performance, and while we celebrate the award with enthusiasm and pride, we won't let it define us. We must stay humble because we operate submarines in challenging and unforgiving environments that require our undivided attention needed to execute these operations successfully and safely.
"We have too much work to do with our upcoming shipyard availability to dwell too fondly on our past accomplishments. The men of Albany embraced the demands of a European Command area deployment with precision and style. The Battle "E" is that outward symbol that represents the public acknowledgement for a job well-done."
The Battle "E" competition is conducted to strengthen individual command performance, overall force readiness, and to recognize outstanding performance. The criterion for the award is the overall readiness of the command to carry out its assigned wartime tasks as a unit of the Atlantic Submarine Force, and is based on a year-long evaluation.
One submarine from each submarine squadron in the Atlantic Fleet is recognized. The awards are presented by the commodore of each squadron to the submarine under their command which has demonstrated the highest level of battle readiness during the evaluation year.
In addition to the Battle "E," Albany was also presented divisional and departmental awards - the Supply "E," the Communications "C," and the Damage Control "DC."
"The Battle 'E' is an awesome award and carries great honor," said Picard. "But as in all things that give honor comes great responsibility. The men of Albany recognize that this award was for our achievements in 2010 and by no means assumes that we will be successful in 2011. They are proud of their accomplishments, but also humble. All eyes will be on us this year and if we fail in any area, it will be magnified due to the expectations being higher on our boat.
"Additionally, I would like to point out that the divisional and departmental awards hold a lot of weight with the crew as well. I can see the pride in the divisions that won the awards, and the impact these awards have had has been pleasantly surprising. I would like to congratulate all the other boats on the waterfront. Every boat toils throughout the year and puts forth their best efforts. We all strive for excellence and in my mind, we all achieved it in 2010," said Picard.
Propst concurred with his commanding officer and executive officer, but gave perspective and insight from his senior enlisted position.
"The Battle 'E' award is the culmination of not necessarily the best performance in every mission area, but the sustained superior performance over the evaluation period," said Propst. "This is one of the pinnacle awards that a crew can earn based on an arduous, year-long journey which included deployments, maintenance periods, training, and a multitude of other taskings in port and at-sea.
"The commands that earn the Battle "E" are easily discernible because they do all the little things right. You will find that commands excelling in formality, professionalism, procedural compliance, and communications will always excel in the operational and tactical aspects as well," said Propst.
All submarine force command Battle "E" winners were announced via Navy message by Vice Adm. John M. Richardson, commander, Submarine Forces, Jan. 1.
"The competition for these honors was, as always, extremely keen," stated Richardson in the message. "These awards should be a source of great pride to each and every crewmember. Bravo Zulu."
For more information on the Submarine Force visit the Submarine Force Atlantic web site at www.sublant.navy.mil.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/sublant/.