Silverdale, Washington. The Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific (SWFPAC) 2013 Sailor of the Year (SOY) and third quarter 2014 Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) and Junior SOQ were recognized by the Navy League of the United States (NLUS) Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council during an August 9th luncheon held at the Bangor Plaza on Naval Station Kitsap–Bangor.
One of the missions of the NLUS is to support the men and women of the sea services and their families. Each awardee was presented a soaring eagle statuette engraved with their names by Council President Larry Salter. Navy Captain Michael Baretela, SWFPAC Commanding Officer, was the luncheon guest speaker. SWFPAC Command Master Chief, Mitch Erhardt, and Missile Technician Chief Petty Officer (Submarines) Mario Legaspi were also present to honor their stand-out Sailors for their hard work and individual efforts.
In 2014, SWFPAC celebrates its 50th anniversary. It was established in 1964 as the POLARIS Missile Facility Pacific (POMFPAC). Today, SWFPAC provides assembly, storage, check-out, onload, and offload of Trident D-5 strategic missiles; ensures custody, accountability and control of strategic weapons and material; publishes and maintains Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) procedures and conducts START inspections; and provides technical engineering services for guidance, missile, and launcher support equipment.
The SWFPAC 2013 SOY is Missile Technician First Class (MT1) (SS) Richard Hays of Brazoria County, Texas. According to his citation, Hays expertly led a complex team of over 30 personnel through an extremely arduous production schedule. He exhibited outstanding mentoring abilities, and spent numerous off-duty hours creating and implementing an aggressive plan for the the Command’s Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) Program to deter negative behavior among sailors.
“He is a pretty outstanding technician and he’s done a lot of things for us,” recalled Baretela. “He’s the Operations Division Leading Petty Officer, and he keeps me out of trouble in that area. This summer he had a unique opportunity to go over to the United Kingdom and be one of instructors at their training facility, and got rave reviews by all of our Allies over there in Faslane. He truly represented our country well!”
Hays was recently selected for a commission as a Limited Duty Officer after only eight years in the Navy–well ahead of his peers. He was near the top of his selection group and will pin-on his officer insignia at the start of Fiscal Year 2015–on October 1st.
The SWFPAC Third Quarter 2014 SOQ is MT1 (SS) Matthew Shaffer. According to his citation, as the Accountability Leading Petty Officer, Shaffer’s leadership and experience were instrumental in the management of the command’s Nuclear Weapon Related Materiel program resulting in zero discrepancies during the most recent Nuclear Weapon Related Materiel self-assessment and Semiannual Inventory Report.
He skillfully planned, managed, and executed the Semiannual Inventory, whichresulted in zero deficiencies and discrepancies for all accountable items. “Petty Officer Shaffer keeps me out of trouble as well,” said Baretela. “He is one of the guys that can get you fired if he doesn’t do his job right. He has to know where everything is at all times. But he does his job exceptionally well.”
The SWFPAC Third Quarter 2014 Junior SOQ is MT2 (SS) Adam Cronkright of Fenton, Michigan. According to his citation, as an Explosives Handling Wharf Team Leader, Cronkright led a team of five Sailors during 14 missile transfer operations during the busiest quarter in recent history. As the Divisional Weight Test Petty Officer, he tracked the maintenance and ensured proper operation of over 150 pieces of handling equipment essential to the successful completion of all wharf operations.
As an Assistant Command Fitness leader, Cronkright’s dedication to his shipmates directly led to 27 Fitness Enhancement Program Sailors showing significant improvement on the most recent Physical Fitness Assessment.
Baretela explained how “Petty Officer Cronkright works down at the Explosive Handling Wharf where the rubber really meets the road for SWFPAC. He directly supports the Fleet and ensures they get everything they need to do their job.” Baretela was especially grateful for Cronkright’s efforts leading 27 sailors to improved physical readiness in a fast-paced organization that leaves little time for recreational fitness activities.