USS PREBLE, At Sea (NNS) -- Each year the USS Constitution Chapter of the Surface Navy Association gathers to recognize someone who shows a continuation of George Sirian's historic spirit of excellence in today's chief petty officers (CPO).
For 2007, Chief Gunner's Mate (SW) Casey Carlson from USS Preble (DDG 88) was selected to receive the prestigious USS Constitution George Sirian Meritorious Service Award. He will join USS Constitution Aug. 20 in Boston Harbor for a four-day cruise.
The CPO chosen is one who best demonstrates exemplary performance in organization and management skills, mission accomplishment, vision, motivation, leadership, promotion of military service and mentorship of junior Sailors.
It's no surprise he was selected by his peers for nomination of the award.
"When I asked the crew who was worthy of the George Sirian award, everyone replied Chief Carlson," said Preble's Command Master Chief Faith Peerenboom. "All you have to do is look at him, and you know he's a chief. He has a drive, and not just for himself, but for others as well. He has found a way to balance the ship's operations with the crew's morale, and they love him."
Carlson is currently the leading chief petty officer for Weapons Department's gunnery division aboard Preble. He is also the enlisted surface warfare specialist coordinator and the first and only enlisted Sailor to qualify underway officer of the deck (OOD) in Preble's history.
Carlson's designation as OOD has placed him in control of the ship during critical operating periods, such as transiting straits; missions in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom; maritime operations; and most recently in Valiant Shield 2007, a joint military exercise aimed at testing the military's ability to rapidly bring together joint forces in response to any regional contingency.
"Chief Petty Officer Carlson, without a doubt, embodies the reverence with which we hold the title 'Chief,'" said Capt. Kevin C. Hill, commanding officer of Preble. "He excels above and beyond the fine art of surface warfare, seamanship and operational excellence. Chief Carlson is the best chief petty officer with whom I have served; this award was created with him in mind."
For Sailors who work for Carlson, he is an invaluable leader.
"He gives us the tools we need to get our job done without micromanaging every aspect of it," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Bryan Hagenberger, who has worked for Carlson for two years. "I can't think of anyone I've came across in my career who deserves it more. I've always been able to tell how much he cares; he doesn't even want to leave us to go accept the award, because there is so much going on here right now."
For Carlson, the announcement of the award came as a pleasant surprise.
"I was shocked, almost overwhelmed," said Carlson. "There are so many great CPOs in the Navy, and I just feel like every other guy out there doing his job."
Soon, Carlson will be leaving his shipmates to travel to Boston, where he will receive the honor aboard USS Constitution, the Navy's oldest commissioned ship. He will also live aboard "Old Ironsides" for a five-day, four-night ceremonial underway period, where 150 CPO selectees and 20 mentoring CPOs will be immersed in more than 200 years of naval heritage.
Showing once more his dedication to his command and the Navy, Carlson chose to leave the 12-day festivities a few days early and travel back to Preble, to be present for a very important ammo-off-load evolution. This shows the type of work ethic and get-it-done attitude that consumes Carlson.
"When you put anchors on, the time for honoring yourself is gone," said Carlson. "The people, the ship and the mission, that's what is important, and I wouldn't be here without my division doing such a great job. My guys are easy to lead, and they're phenomenal people. In many ways, I feel guilty for taking credit for their accomplishments."
Preble is currently conducting operations in support of exercise Valiant Shield as part of John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSSG), incorporating advance technologies, techniques and procedures in a joint task force exercise that promotes regional peace and stability in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
JCSSG will remain postured to render aid in the region if needed, in support of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet's goal of delivering responsive, short-term readiness.
Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. The U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets, with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.
For more news from USS Preble, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/ddg88/.