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The League’s awards program recently underwent a thorough review at the direction of the Board of Directors. The review team recognized from the outset that the NSL awards program was far more comprehensive than is generally understood. The League presents more than 100 performance based awards to members of the submarine community each year!

While this topic was covered in a July 1998 article it is apparent, as noted above, that not everyone is aware of the full scope and magnitude of the program. This combined with the review team’s one consistent finding-“The program can benefit from greater publicity” -makes it appropriate to provide the membership with a detailed discussion of the program and the findings of the review.

The awards program is one highlight of the support the League provides to the Submarine Force. Awards recognizing excellence instill pride in the individual, reinforce the important role of the Submarine Force, and showcase the excellence that marks the performance of every submariner. The Fleet Awards and Literary Awards are presented at the League’s annual symposium in June.

The Naval Submarine League Awards Program is comprised of six distinct elements. These are a Fleet Awards program, Submarine School awards, Special Category Awards. Literary awards, Accession awards, and a Photo Contest. The individual program elements are discussed in the following sections.

Fleet Awards

A national Fleet Awards program is administered in accordance with OPNAVINST 1650.22C. This is the best known segment of the Submarine league awards. The current four performance awards, with the planned addition of a COB award. provide recognition opportunities for officers and enlisted personnel as well as government civilians. The breakdown includes two awards designated for officers, three for enlisted, one for either officer or enlisted, and one for officer, enlisted or government civilian. The instruction also calls for annual recognition of the officer and enlisted submariner longest qualified in submarines and currently serving onboard a submarine. The recently completed review concluded there is an equitable distribution of awards. Table 1 summarizes the performance awards.

Table 1
Fleet Awards (7 Performance Plus Two Longest Qualified)

Award Recognizing Recipients
Warder Outstanding Achievement Military/Civilian- LCDR or junior
Lockwood(3 Awards) Professional Excellence Officer/CPO/E-6 or junior (one each)
Levering Smith Support Excellence Officer or Smith 04 or junior
Jack N. Darby Inspirational Leadership and Excellence in Command Submarine Commanding Officer
TBD Excellence in Leadership Chief of the Boat

The current annual performance awards are named in honor of four distinguished submariners.

The Frederick B. Warder Award for Outstanding Achievement recognizes a specific action, contribution or continuing performance which most positively influenced the reputation, readiness or future well being of the Submarine Force. Government employees, civilian or military (Lieutenant Commander or junior) are eligible for this award.

The Charles A. Lockwood Award for submarine professional excellence recognizes individuals for achievement, contribution, specific action or consistent performance, which best exemplifies the traditional spirit embodied in the Submarine Force. Three awards-one each to an officer, a chief petty officer and an E6 or below enlisted submariner are presented.

The Levering Smith Award for Submarine Support Achievement recognizes specific or continuing submarine support actions that have most contributed to the furtherance of the spirit or fighting mettle of the Submarine Force. One award is presented annually to a Navy service member (officer or enlisted) lieutenant commander or junior.

The Jack N. Darby Award for Inspirational Leadership and Excellence of Command recognizes a submarine officer who has displayed exceptional leadership in command. One award is presented each year.

In November, the Board of Directors approved an additional performance award, to be awarded on annual basis, to the outstanding Chief of the Boat. The League staff is currently working with the two Submarine Force Command Master Chiefs to select an appropriate name for this award and establish the eligibility and selection criteria. A change to the OPNA V instruction will be prepared and the first award will be made in 2001.

Separate from the national Fleet Awards, the Naval Submarine League Aloha Chapter worked with Commander, Submarine Force Pacific to establish a Pacific Fleet awards program. This program is administered in accordance with COMSUBPAC INST 5060.1. Four winners are selected from Pearl Harbor based submarine crews and include one commanding officer, one junior officer, one chief petty officer, and one enlisted submariner (E 1-E6). Selection is based on overall outstanding performance of duty, individual achievement, and excellence in leadership with emphasis placed on warfighting skills and the individual’s contribution to his submarine’s warfighting readiness.

Submarine School Awards

The Submarine School Awards program recognizes the outstanding performance of one member of each graduating class in three programs-Basic Enlisted, Basic Officer, and Advanced Officer training. Sixty-five awards (15 Officer/SO Enlisted) are given each year. The Naval Submarine League Nautilus Chapter provides area support. These awards are summarized in Table 2.

Table 2 Submarine School Awards.

Naval Submarine League

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