By Lt. j.g. Robert Liberato, USS Howard Public Affairs
Adm. Robert F. Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, presented the crew of USS Howard (DDG 83) the Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy Award for the U.S. Pacific for 2006 on Aug. 3.
The Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy Award, named after one of the U.S. Navy's most famous destroyer squadron commanders and the Chief of Naval Operations from 1955 to 1961, is presented annually to the ship or aviation squadron (one in the Pacific Fleet and one in the Atlantic Fleet) that has achieved the greatest improvement during the preceding year in operational readiness, inspections, retention and improvement in the Battle Efficiency Award program.
Willard presented the award to Howard's crew during a ceremony held on board Howard at BAE shipyard in San Diego where the crew is completing a nine-week CNO maintenance availability.
In a naval message, Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Mullen, recognized Howard's crew for significant operational improvements which translated into superb performance as the Regional Air Defense Commander and Scene-of-Action Commander during highly challenging maritime security operations in the northern Persian Gulf.
"It is obvious that the recognition for receiving the Arleigh Burke Award goes to the crew," said Willard. "It recognizes a year's worth of hard work and a job well done."
Willard noted that Howard's dramatic improvements in operational readiness, teamwork and commitment to excellence made her the standout ship and a front-runner during Composite Unit Training Exercise, Joint Task Force Exercise and a high-tempo deployment as the Air Defense Commander for Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group, the joint U.S.-Indian Navy exercise Malabar 2006 and in the northern Persian Gulf.
Howard Sailors were excited about the award and the admiral's visit.
"When I found out that Howard was getting the award, I thought it was huge," said Gas Turbine System Mechanic 1st Class (SW) Lashonda Wright. "The blue shirts had come together and put forth the effort to get the job done, this award was well deserved."
"This is a remarkable achievement,” said Navy Career Counselor (SW) Veronica Holliday. "No matter where you go or what you do, you can look back and remember you were a part of USS Howard."
"The credit for the Arleigh Burke Award goes to the junior officers, chief petty officers and blue shirts carrying out the orders and maintaining the standards set by the senior leadership on a day-to-day basis," said Ensign Brent Szychulda.
During the ceremony, Willard also took time to recognize two of Howard's Sailors of the Quarter, Storekeeper 1st Class (SW) Miguel Moranparra and Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class (SW) Felicia Allen.
In addition, Willard recognized Theresa Howard who attended the ceremony with family and friends. Ms. Howard is the co-sponsor for Howard and the widow of Marine Corp Gunnery Sgt. Jimmy Howard, the ship's namesake.