USS Hue City Sailor Named Top Surface Warfare Chief

Story Number: NNS040909-04Release Date: 9/9/2004 11:55:00 AM
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By Journalist 3rd Class Bretta Heath, Public Affairs Center, Norfolk

BOSTON (NNS) -- Chief Gunner's Mate Brent Tidwell of USS Hue City (CG 66) was presented with the 2004 George Sirian Meritorious Service Award in a ceremony Aug. 27 aboard the Navy's oldest warship, USS Constitution.

The USS Constitution Chapter of the Surface Navy Association established the award a year ago to recognize the chief petty officer (CPO) who best exemplifies Surface Warfare excellence.

The award honors George Sirian, who served in the Navy for nearly 50 years with multiple tours aboard "Old Ironsides" during the first half of the 19th century. Sirian, who rose through the ranks from seaman to master gunner and finally as warrant officer, still serves as a leadership model for modern day CPOs.

Tidwell, a vertical launching systems technician who maintains and operates the MK-41 launch system aboard guided-missile cruiser Hue City, credited his fellow co-workers.

"I was blown away that the chain of command had the confidence in me to nominate me for such an honor," he said. "I'm not entirely responsible for what it takes to get here. It's the individuals I work with that made it possible for me to be here."

Although there were many distinguished visitors aboard for the ceremony, all eyes were on Tidwell when Constitution Chapter President, retired Capt. Jim Alosi, presented him with an engraved cutlass and a citation from the Chapter.

"The greatest thing about this week is being on this ship," said Tidwell. "It's the oldest warship in the Navy, and it's a huge honor to be on board."

In addition to the award, Tidwell took the opportunity to work with CPO selectees aboard Constitution for training. Looking out on the men and women who would soon be joining him in the chief's mess, Tidwell gave thanks to the chiefs who influenced him.

"I still remember my first ship and my first chief. Shortly after I made Chief, he called me, and he wanted to know if I needed anything," Tidwell said. "A little while later, I received his anchors in the mail. For him to give them to me meant a lot. That's the kind of chief I strive to be."

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