ABOARD USS CARL VINSON, At sea (NNS) -- For more than a century, the U.S. Navy's intelligence community has had its finger on the pulse of the world, ensuring commanders are provided the information needed to conduct maritime operations and maintain America's ability to project power from the sea.
The need for prompt and accurate intelligence is as important now as ever, while the U.S Navy plays active roles in both Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
The Navy's intelligence specialist (IS) rating makes up the unique group of men and women responsible for providing proper research for and analysis of this intelligence.
Every year, the Pacific and Atlantic fleets award their top performers with the title of Intelligence Specialist of the year.
Recently, Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Nathaniel Warren, assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 138, was named the Pacific Fleet's 2002 Junior Intelligence Specialist of the Year.
"It was my proudest moment as a naval officer, seeing someone that I know and trust being recognized by the entire Navy as being tops," said Lt. Joel Hill, who has served as Warren's division officer for two years.
Warren, who served as the plane captain of an EA-6B Prowler prior to joining the squadron's intelligence division, made a name for himself during the squadron's deployment with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 75), in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Last cruise, he was the shining star in 'Intel'... volunteered for everything that he could," said Hill. "He was the guy that everyone could turn to."
Following the Yellow Jackets' seven-month deployment, Warren stayed true to his reputation for volunteerism and accepted temporary-additional-duty (TAD) orders to USS Coronado (AGF 11) during the congressionally mandated joint exercise Millennium Challenge.
It was during this exercise, the largest joint experiment in U.S. military history, that Warren discovered his true passion in the intelligence field.
"Millennium Challenge was the peak of my naval stint," said Warren. "I was there to support special forces and Marine forces with intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms."
Warren is once again deployed with the Yellow Jackets, who are embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in the western Pacific.
He is now responsible for researching and briefing pilots and senior intelligence officers on the current status of surface vessels in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility -- a job that is earning him further kudos in the intelligence community.
"When he (Warren) briefs, everyone knows that he is knowledgeable and that his research is dependable," said Hill. "If he doesn't know something, he will always find the answer and get right back to that person."
Prior to receiving the Junior IS of the Year award, the 23-year-old Sailor considered separating from the Navy at the end of his enlistment and pursuing a career as a civilian. Now he feels there is no other option but to reenlist.
"This is too big of a thing to just get out after," said Warren, who hopes to arrange orders in support of a special-forces unit following his tour. "It (the award) has opened up a lot of doors."
Warren anticipates that this new distinction will aid him in achieving future goals in the Navy.
"With what the Navy has in him, he deserves whatever he wants," said Hill. "This will be with him the rest of his life."
For related news, visit the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70.