Center for Surface Combat Systems Selects Sailor of the Year

Story Number: NNS191122-08Release Date: 11/22/2019 11:22:00 AM
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By Kimberly M. Lansdale, Center for Surface Combat Systems Public Affairs

DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) recently announced the selection of their 2019 Sailor of the Year (SOY). 

Capt. Dave Stoner, CSCS commanding officer, explains that Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Vannon Ray Alonso’s position at CSCS Unit (CSCSU) Dam Neck has a direct impact not only throughout the Hampton Roads region, but also throughout the fleet.     

“At CSCS, our primary mission is to train Sailors how to fight and to win and that includes ensuring training systems and devices are operational and ready for use,” Stoner said. "As CSCSU Dam Neck’s command calibration laboratory program manager, EM1 Alonso is responsible for test equipment readiness and as a result, is critical to our hands-on training mission. He clearly exemplifies the true meaning of a United States Navy Sailor with his drive, passion, and his philosophy of ‘mission first’”. 

Alonso says having the opportunity to impact the future force of the Navy is one of the most rewarding tours, personally and professionally.

“Test equipment readiness is something that can severely influence a command’s ability to conduct training and maintenance,” explained Alonso. “The calibration lab at CSCSU Dam Neck is currently in the process of upgrading from a field calibration activity to an intermediate level facility servicing all Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) learning sites in the Hampton Roads area. We have already began services for four sites, including our own. As we increase our intake from other sites, we are ensuring continued effective training as well as saving the Navy money.” 

Capt. John Vliet, CSCSU Dam Neck commanding officer, says Alonso represents the 21st Century Sailor of the highest caliber.

“EM1 Alonso is humble and tough and a fair leader,” Vliet explained. “He is a model citizen and all of my Sailors strive to emulate him. “He is a true ambassador of our Navy, on and off-duty!”

Alonso, who hails from Gladewater, Texas, and has served onboard Strike Fighter Squadron 32 (VFA 32), known as the “Swordsmen”, and aboard USS Gettysburg (CG 64) has made the Navy his career.

“When I joined the Navy, life had been very difficult for me,” he explained. “Due to the circumstances I faced, I had to get my General Education Diploma and did not have the opportunity to attend college. My original intent was to join the Navy to give me that opportunity and depart after my first enlistment. However, the Navy has become not only my career, but family as well.”

He plans to retire from the Navy having completed his Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from Liberty University. Upon retirement, he hopes to become a school counselor or a teacher.

Alonso now moves on to the next level of competition where he will represent CSCS for consideration as the NETC 2019 SOY.

“I am extremely proud and excited to represent the amazing Sailors who make up the CSCS domain,” he said. “I know I could not have achieved this honor without the hard work and dedication of the entire team I am privileged to work with on a daily basis and the abundant mentorship provided by my leaders. In addition, there are people who have had my back every step of the way and have instilled in me the drive to be as successful as possible while being not only the best Sailor, but also the best person I can be. First, I have to give credit to God who has carried me through some of the hardest times in my life. Secondly, my wife Hailee and our four children. Making them proud has been my driving force to succeed in my professional and personal life. Finally, the Navy is nothing without its leaders. I am fortunate to have served and currently serve under some of the best leaders in the United States Navy.”

CSCS is a global organization of professional military and civilian educators and support personnel focused on training the Surface Navy to fight and win. CSCS trains over 36,000 U.S. and Allied Sailors a year to operate, maintain and employ weapons, sensors, communications, combat systems and deck equipment of surface warships to build Combat Ready Ships with Battle Minded Crews.


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