Group 2 Commander Presents Awards to Helena Sailors

Story Number: NNS101216-16Release Date: 12/16/2010 6:12:00 PM
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By Lt. j.g. Garry Ferguson, USS Helena (SSN 725) Public Affairs

GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Group (CSG) 2 presented the Navy Commendation Medal to a Sailor assigned to Los Angeles-class submarine USS Helena (SSN 725) Dec. 8 in Groton, Conn.

Rear Adm. Michael McLaughlin, CSG 2, presented the medal to Chief Electronics Technician Brian McGrady for his outstanding work in the Reactor Controls Division aboard Helena.

McGrady was also recognized for his superior performance throughout nine consecutive years of sea duty, which included stints on board USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) before coming to the Helena in 2008.

"Chief McGrady is a guy that never complains, never passes blame and never makes excuses. He always operates with a high-level of ownership," said Cmdr. Paul Dinius, Helena's commanding officer. "He's one of those guys who you really love to have working for you, and we're certainly going to miss all that he brings to this boat."

McGrady's next assignment will be at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, S.C.

While on board, McLaughlin also presented submarine warfare pins to Helena junior officers, Lt. j.g. Christian Fowler and Lt. j.g. Chris Dolan. Also known as "Dolphins," submarine warfare pins are worn by enlisted and officers signifying they are proficient in using all the systems aboard the submarine. Fowler and Dolan completed the majority of the qualification process, which takes about a year, on board USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) during the boat's U.S. Central Command deployment.

After presenting the awards, McLaughlin talked to the crew and answered some of their questions. He also emphasized shipboard integrity.

"Helena has a great reputation among the submarine force," said McLaughlin, who closed by encouraging the crew to continue performing at such a high level.

Helena, commissioned in July 1987, is the fourth ship of the U.S. fleet to be named after the capital city of Montana. The submarine arrived at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in September 2009 for an engineered overhaul. Helena is on track to return to sea in spring 2011.

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