Silverdale, Washington. Four 2014 Commander, Submarine Group 9 (CSG-9) Sailors of the Year (SOYs) were recognized by the Navy League of the United States (NLUS) Bremerton/Olympic Peninsula Council during a March 10th luncheon held at the Bangor Plaza on Naval Station Kitsap–Bangor.
Each awardee was presented a soaring eagle statuette engraved with their names by Council President, Tim Katona. Senior Navy leaders representing each awardee’s respective command were present to honor the 2014 stand-outs for their hard work and individual efforts, including the Submarine Group 9 Commander, RDML Dave Kriete. Commander Michael Yesunas, Commanding Officer of Naval Magazine Indian Island, was the guest speaker.
CSG-9 is the flag-level organization overseeing all submarine activity in the Pacific Northwest, and each year selects top sea and shore command awardees at the senior and junior petty officer level. All SOY competitors at the collective CSG-9 level are already top performers in their own right because they are nominated only after having been designated as the SOY within their own units.
The 2014 CSG-9 Sea SOY is Machinist Mate First Class (Submarines) Christopher Smith stationed onboard USS OHIO (SSGN 726) (BLUE). The Junior Sea SOY is Yeoman Second Class (Submarines) Cody Browder from USS PENNSYLVANIA (SSBN 735) (GOLD). The CSG-9 Shore SOY is Navy Counselor First Class (Seabee Combat Warfare/Fleet Marine Force) Sara Dozier, from CSG-9 Staff, who also took these same honors last year. The Junior Shore SOY is Logistics Specialist Second Class (Submarines) Michael Porterfield stationed at Priority Material Office, Bremerton.
According to his citation, MM1(SS) Smith, from Auburn, WA, took charge of Auxiliary Division following the unplanned loss of the incumbent Chief Petty Officer and led it from January to August 2014. His superior leadership skills were instrumental in leading a division of 18 Sailors through two dry dockings and an underway period. His unmatched devotion to his work was the key to success in Auxiliary Division executing over 300 work packages during the latest ship’s maintenance and modernization period.
CMDCM(SS) Trey Greene, USS OHIO (SSGN 726) (BLUE) Chief of the Boat, introduced and praised Smith at the luncheon. “I can’t say enough about him. If you’ve ever known anyone that’s run an Auxiliary Division without a Chief [Petty Officer], it’s a tough job. He led a division of 18 Petty Officers flawlessly; and I expect to see him as a Chief Petty Officer this summer.”
After receiving the award, Smith commented, “I’d like to thank the Navy League for inviting me here. A lot of this award really goes to the men in my Command that helped me get where I’m at. As the COB [Chief of the Boat] said, it’s a lot of those junior guys working for me that make me look like a rock star. So I want to thank them too!”
YN2(SS) Browder’s citation chronicled how he completely changed the face of the Command Fitness Program as one of the most junior Command Fitness Leaders. His pursuit of excellence enabled him to be the only Second Class Petty Officer onboard to qualify and stand Chief of the Watch, a watch usually reserved for a more senior First Class Petty Officer and Chief Petty Officers. His high quality of work in the Ship’s Office led to high marks during a recent Submarine Squadron 17 administrative inspection.
CMDCM(SS) Damon Gilliam, USS PENNSYLVANIA (SSBN 735) (GOLD) Chief of the Boat, said, “Twenty-two years and I’ve never seen a Second Class [Petty Officer] with three years in the Navy qualify Diving Officer of the Watch (DOOW). He also pretty much runs the Ship’s Office. My YNC [Yeoman Chief Petty Officer] doesn’t have much to do because this guy takes most of his work away from him. We’re just very proud of him!”
Browder, from Alvarado, TX, later thanked the Navy League for the recognition and also thanked his Command for trusting him with the advanced watch qualification. “I’m pretty new and they have trusted me with lots of responsibility, and I want to thank them for that.”
According to her citation, NC1(SCW/FMF) Dozier, from Las Vegas, NV, excelled in executing numerous command-level duties and responsibilities and set the standard for others to emulate. Her leadership and determination as the Immediate Superior in Command Career Counselor was exemplary. She assisted submarines that were out to sea with no connectivity by submitting 500 Perform To Serve applications, 250 personnel action requests, 125 selective reenlistment bonuses totaling over eight million dollars and 50 fleet reserve requests.
At the next level of SOY competition, Dozier was also selected as the Commander, Submarine Force, Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) Shore SOY–the top sailor among all Pacific Fleet shore commands. She will next compete for the U.S. Pacific Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year
CSG-9 Command Master Chief, CMDCM(SS) Ted Calcaterra, said of Dozier, “She originally joined the navy as a CS [Culinary Specialist] and converted. She crossed a lot of hurdles and after every one she crossed, she landed with her feet running. There is nothing she can’t accomplish.” Calcaterra, former Chief of the Boat on USS CHARLOTTE (SSN 766), challenged Dozier to volunteer for submarine duty and remarked that he hopes to see her be the first female submarine Chief of the Boat.
Dozier thanked Calcaterra for the “sales pitch” (volunteering for submarine duty), and continued on to deferred the praise she received. “If it weren’t for the junior sailors to give me a chance to lead them, and then mentors who believed in me and helped me be the sailor I have become, I don’t think I would have made it so far.”
LSC(SW/SCW) Robert Gurule, LS2(SS) Porterfield’s Leading Petty Officer, introduced the new Junior Shore SOY by saying, “There’s a lot of great things I can say about him, He definitely represents the ideals we like to see in young petty officers. But the most important thing I can say about him is that he not only cares about the Command, but about the junior sailors as well. He is very spirited and intelligent.”
According to his citation, Porterfield, from Crosby, TX, meticulously managed the conveyor belt which effectively reduced transit time for 13,247 Category I and II requisitions valued in excess of $320 million dollars from over seven days to less than six. As the command Training Petty Officer, he qualified 33 military and civilian personnel in enterprise retrograde material, which enhanced material response time throughout the fleet.
Porterfield later told the audience, “Thank you for the recognition of all the hard work each and every one of us do every day. But I most want to thank my chain of command for putting me in a position to succeed, as well as all those junior sailors that chief talked about who trusted in me to lead them.”
CSG-9 was established upon the arrival of the first TRIDENT submarine, USS OHIO (SSBN 726), in Bangor, WA on July 1, 1981, according to their official Navy web site. CSG-9 reports to the Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and exercises administrative control authority for assigned submarine commands and units in the Pacific Northwest. CSG-9 provides oversight for shipboard training, personnel, supply and material readiness of TRIDENT submarines and their crews, and is also responsible for nuclear submarines undergoing conversion or overhaul at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. CSG-9 subordinate commands include Naval Submarine Support Center Bangor, Submarine Squadrons 17 and 19, and all assigned Pacific Fleet Trident submarines.