Submariners Recognized During 54th Sea Service Awards Luncheon

Story Number: NNS141115-11Release Date: 11/15/2014 1:38:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor, Submarine Force Pacific, Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Seven submarine personnel from Pacific Submarine Force were recognized at the 54th Annual Sea Service Awards luncheon sponsored by the Honolulu Navy League, held Nov. 14 at the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki.

This year's award recipients included officers and enlisted crew from the Pearl Harbor-based Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), USS Buffalo (SSN 715) and USS Asheville (SSN 758), as well as Sailors assigned to the staff of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC).

The Navy League presents the annual Sea Service Awards to officer and enlisted service members as well as civilian members of the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine for outstanding personal contributions that advance the logistic readiness and competence of the sea services. Award recipients include those Sailors that not only do their job exceptionally well, but who also involve themselves in service opportunities outside of work, including efforts with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Little League Baseball and the USO.

Captain John Russ, COMSUBPAC chief of staff, said it's great to be able to recognize Sailors that help make a difference.

"It is great to be able to award Sailors that do a fantastic job for us every single day," said Russ. "We honor them and honor their service."

This year's awardees for the Pacific Submarine Force included Lt. Andrew Faulkner of Cheyenne; Lt. Richard Griffith and Machinist's Mate 1st Class Trevor Thurman of Buffalo; Machinist's Mate 1st Class Timothy Hill of Asheville; and Electronics Technician 1st Class Matthew Eliason, Information Systems Technician 1st Class Paul Giron and Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Matthew Johnson of COMSUBPAC.

Eliason said this comes as a nice surprise, also being recognized as Sea Sailor of the Year at his last duty station aboard the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Bremerton (SSN 698). Originally from Madisonville, Texas, Eliason said he is very appreciative in receiving the award.

"I love that the Navy League recognizes Sailors that try to do their best," said Eliason.

Eliason's division chief at COMSUBPAC, Chief Electronics Technician Kirk Potter, said Eliason was exceptional when he volunteered to help man a critical gap in order to fulfill mission requirements.

"He is definitely someone to look up to in the submarine force and in the Navy," said Potter.

"It's a great recognition!" said Johnson. "Especially here in Hawaii because not too many people know about the award."

Johnson, also on COMSUBPAC staff, is an active participant with Habitat for Humanity, a volunteer organization that helps build shelters for people in need. Johnson also serves as a coach for Little League Baseball.

Lt. Cmdr. Ken Roman, executive officer aboard Cheyenne, said he is honored to see his quality assurance officer, Lt. Andrew Faulkner, receive this award.

"He is the most selfless officer I have ever met," said Roman. "He is self-motivated, and gets things done. Faulkner, from Philadelphia, helps out at local events for his church, as well as for a Hawaii bicycle organization that puts on events across the island of Oahu.

Chief Machinist's Mate Robert Campbell, the auxiliary dept. division chief of Asheville, said his Sailor, Machinist's Mate 1st Class Timothy Hill, from Chicago, helps enforce positive role models in the submarine force.

"These awards help put outstanding Sailors' names in the forefront," said Campbell.

Division officer Lt. Cmdr. Samuel Merritt praised his staff Sailors.

"I am very proud that both Giron and Thompson are able to keep up with their jobs at a superior level and still go to college and volunteer in outside activities," said Merritt.

Petty Officer Giron added, "This award means a lot to me. It's great that I'm being acknowledged, that my chain of command is supporting me, and that the Navy League is doing all this for us."

In addition to working fulltime and mentoring his junior Sailors in the U.S. Military Apprenticeship Program, Giron earned his associate's degree in supervisory leadership, and volunteers at the Human Society of Hawaii, a dog rescue organization.

Lt. Richard Griffith of Buffalo said he was actually pretty surprised that he received the honor. The native of Berkeley, California, who has volunteered in the Special Olympics in his off time, is a communications officer aboard his submarine.

"It is a lot of work, and this job has definitely taught me a lot more that I pass to my Sailors," said Griffith. "So it's an honor to be recognized for this award."

COMSUBPAC's command master chief, Master Chief Jay Cherland, said he is very proud of the recipients, and said they absolutely deserve it.

"This award is great because it not only recognizes our Sailors at the command level, but also in the community," said Cherland. "The Navy League is something that the Navy cannot do without; they really take care of our Sailors."

Cherland himself said these awards bring him back down memory lane.

"Back in 1999, I myself received this honor when I was a first class petty officer," said Cherland. "These Sailors will remember this."

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