PHILIPPINE SEA (NNS) -- Three Sailors from the John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG) have been awarded for individual contributions to naval operations in 2015.
Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Pierce, Lt. Cmdr. David Wrigley and Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 1st Class Carlos Martinezvidal were all recognized for excellence within their respective warfare areas.
Pierce, operations officer for guided-missile destroyer USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) received the Junior Officer Award for Excellence in Tactics by Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific (SURFPAC).
The SURFPAC tactics award is based on five grading criteria -- command presence; expertise in own ship's weapons and sensors; expertise in tactics, techniques and procedures; knowledge of threat capabilities; and skill in internal and external communications and interfaces.
"I saw the list and the names of others I know in my community," said Pierce. "It was pretty special that I was recognized amongst such great officers."
Although awarded to only one person, Pierce acknowledges that a team effort is required to be at the forefront of tactics, techniques and procedures in the Navy.
"I would credit the backing I get from the crew on Mobile Bay, who continuously challenge me on watch," said Pierce. "Capt. Sean McLaren, the commanding officer, allows me to run with projects and push missile defense training and testing on tactics. Having that support really means a lot."
Wrigley, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 staff landing signals officer (LSO), was named "Paddles of the Year" by Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF).
The CNAF Paddles of the Year award is based on the evaluation of the CVW-9 LSO program during cyclic operations. Normally a four-day assessment, the evaluator observes carrier landing operations, pilot debriefs and junior LSO training.
"We were evaluated twice last year; both times we finished in two days," said Wrigley. "This speaks not only to the quality of the Stennis/Shogun (CVW-9) partnership, but also to the dedication of the CVW-9 LSOs who trained an all 'nugget' Air Wing LSO crew during our underway operations."
Nugget is a commonly used term for an aviator with no prior deployment experience.
"I give all the credit to my co-CAG (carrier air group) Paddles, Lt. Cmdr. Jimmy Haizlip and the rest of the air wing LSOs, who used every opportunity to gain experience, execute value-added training, and assume greater burdens of responsibility," said Wrigley. "Were it not for their diligence and motivation, there's no way we could have completed the things that we did."
Martinezvidal, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, Detachment-A operations leading petty officer, was awarded Naval Air Crewman of the Year by Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific (AIRPAC).
The Naval Air Crewman of the Year award is based on operational results and achievements reached by the CVW-9/HSC-14 team.
"I was taken completely by surprise," said Martinezvidal. "There are a lot of outstanding professionals in CVW-9 and the air crew community."
This recognition is given to the crew member who accomplished the most notable helicopter mission and demonstrated the most professional performance during helicopter operations.
"I've been fortunate to have outstanding mentors and leadership throughout my career," said Martinezvidal. "The high expectations and standard set by the CVW-9/HSC-14 team has afforded me the opportunity to do great things during the past year."
The award announcements came while all units were deployed to the Western Pacific as part of the Great Green Fleet.
Currently deployed, the JCSSG consists of John C. Stennis with CVW-9 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 21 embarked, guided-missile destroyers USS Stockdale (DDG 106), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53).
CVW-9 consists of HSC 14, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 71, Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 112, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133, Fleet Logistics Combat Support Squadron (VRC) 30 and Strike Fighter Squadrons (VFA) 14, 41, 97 and 151.
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For more news on JCSSG visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn74/, http://www.stennis.navy.mil/ or http://www.facebook.com/stennis74/.