PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Pacific Submarine Force was honored twice for safety, Oct. 20, as the Virginia-class fast attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) and the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39) were each presented with the Secretary of the Navy's 2014 Safety Excellence award.
Presented during a worldwide Video Tele Conference (VTC) ceremony hosted by the Honorable Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, the SECNAV safety awards recognize Navy and Marine Corps units for mission safety, command cultures and commitment to safety during the previous fiscal year.
The awards recognize commands from 19 different categories throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, and of those only five afloat commands. Texas was honored in the "Afloat, Submarine" category, and Emory S. Land was honored in the "Afloat, Auxiliary" category.
"It's an incredible honor, as the SECNAV Safety Excellence Award is really the cream of the crop; the top percentile of the safety programs in the Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Chuck Wilhite, Submarine Force Pacific Safety Officer. "For Texas and Emory S. Land to both be standouts is a huge accomplishment for SUBPAC."
Captain Harry Ganteaume, commodore of Submarine Squadron 1, said this safety award is recognition of Texas' performance during their recent extended dry-dock selected restricted availability, an intense industrial maintenance period.
"The Texas command was very proactive with Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in improving our abilities to fight fires in a dry dock and industrial environment," said Ganteaume.
Commander Todd Nethercott, commanding officer of Texas, said that safety is routinely discussed at every level.
"The shipyard and the ship worked together closely and created a culture of safety where they were always looking out for each other and looking out for safety hazards on board the ship," said Nethercott. "The ship has a culture of safety and did a great job reinforcing that through a 26-month shipyard period with no major accidents or mishaps, and that's a true testament to their commitment to safety."
Wilhite attributed the influences of the submarine community of doing everything by the book and doing it right the first time to part of the successes of both Texas and Emory S. Land.
"I think that sets us up for success in the safety world, too; it just blends over into that culture," said Wilhite.
Each awardee received a citation from the SECNAV, an award plaque, and the right to fly the SECNAV's Safety Excellence Flag from now until October 2015.
"By your dedication to safety and making sure that safety is a paramount concern of our Sailors and Marines, you have earned the right to fly my SECNAV safety flag for the next year," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, congratulating the award winners in a recorded message. "It's one of the things that makes us the great organization that we are and makes us a world class safety organization."
For more information about Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.csp.navy.mil.
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