USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- Former President George H.W. Bush presented two Sailors with The Stennis Center Honorable George H.W. Bush Leadership Award and the Stennis Center Senior Chief Storekeeper (SW/AW) Charles G. Zwierzynski Leadership Award for outstanding leadership while aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) July 15.
The Stennis Center for Public Service was created by Congress created in 1988 to promote public service in America as exemplified by former U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis. The center facilitates the Stennis Leadership Awards Program to recognize distinguished officers and senior enlisted Navy personnel who demonstrate outstanding leadership aboard aircraft carriers.
The Stennis Center Honorable George H.W. Bush Leadership Award recipient was Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Morris, who serves as the Air department V-2 division officer. The Stennis Center Senior Chief Storekeeper (SW/AW) Charles G. Zwierzynski Leadership Award recipient was Chief Electrician's Mate (SW/AW) Ernest Cruz, a George H.W. Bush plankowner and currently the Reactor Training division officer. Cruz was recently selected for advancement to senior chief petty officer.
Both recipients were nominated by George H.W. Bush crew members and selected by a group of their peers for their outstanding leadership.
Cruz's award honors the memory of Senior Chief Storekeeper Charles G. Zwierzynski, who died in 2008. During his two years aboard George H.W. Bush, Zwierzynski exemplified the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment and motivated those around him to excel.
Cruz, who was mentored by Zwierzynski upon selection as a chief petty officer, said Zwierzynski was an outstanding leader and a great mentor. "It was a great honor to receive an award in honor of such a great leader. He is greatly missed, and I hope to continue to live up to the standard that he has set," Cruz said.
Capt. Chip Miller, George H.W. Bush commanding officer, said that both recipients demonstrate an enormous amount of talent and expertise.
"It's a reflection of the people in my department," Cruz said. "The award is really a reflection of their outstanding success on a daily basis."
Morris also attributed his award to the outstanding performance from the Sailors that he leads.
"Receiving the award was a very great honor and the highlight of my career so far, but it was due to the efforts and hard work of all 250 Sailors in V-2 Division taking a ship right out of the shipyard and successfully completing flight deck certification not once but twice as well as multiple carrier qualification flight operations that I feel I had the opportunity to receive the award," Morris said.
"When it comes to leadership, I believe the most important thing a leader has the obligation to do is to take care of his or her Sailors and that was my top priority as the V-2 Division officer," Morris added.
Both recipients said it was an outstanding honor to be presented their award by former President George H.W. Bush.
"It was incredible," Cruz said. "It was an experience I won't soon forget."
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