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Four U.S. Navy submariners attached to Submarine Group TWO received Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) at the banquet during the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Global Competitiveness Conference in Baltimore, Md., Feb. 19-22, 2009.

The BEYA award recognizes individuals who have achieved exceptional career gains in government, industry, lifetime achievement and pioneering feats.

The four Group TWO submariners receiving recognition at the banquet were: Lt. Jonathan Hines, USS North Carolina (SSN-777); Lt. Vance Scott, USS Albany (SSN-753); Lt. Arprel Walker, USS Louisville (SSN-724); and, Lt. j.g. Jason Brownlee, USS Scranton (SSN-756).

They are among nine U.S. Navy submariners receiving BEYA Awards this year.

“I salute the achievements of these men from Group TWO,” said Rear Adm. Bruce E. Grooms, Commander, Submarine Group TWO. “This is an outstanding accomplishment and a testament to their individual hard work, which moves the Force forward as a whole.”

Five other Naval officers also receiving recognition at the banquet include: Cmdr. Roger Isom, commanding officer of the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Wyoming (SSBN-742)(GOLD), who received the Career Achievement Award, the highest Navy honor; Lt. j.g. Jermaine Bailey, USS Florida (SSGN-728)(BLUE); Lt. j.g. Alfred Williams, USS Wyoming (SSBN-742)(BLUE); Lt. j.g. Juan Hines, USS Louisiana (SSBN-743)(GOLD); and Lt. Cmdr. Djamal Pullom, USS Ohio (SSGN-726)(BLUE). All were selected to be recognized with the Modern Day Technology award.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of everything these men have achieved for themselves and the Submarine Force,” said Vice Adm. John J. Donnelly, Commander, Submarine Force. “They are inspiring and empowering our Sailors to realize their full potential and to recognize the value that each individual brings to the Force.”

Cmdr. Isom, recipient of the prestigious Career Achievement Award, spoke with UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine about his achievement, his career with the Navy and some advice for submariners hoping to follow in his footsteps.

“First, I want to reiterate that I am deeply honored and thankful to receive the prestigious Black Engineer of the Year Award for Career Achievement in Government. I graciously accept this award on the behalf of my family, the Submarine Force, the Navy, and everyone who has supported and encouraged me throughout my 25 years of naval service. My naval career has been and remains a remarkable journey.

I am one of nine siblings who grew up on a farm in Monticello, Fla., a rural town outside of Tallahassee. My father was a carpenter and a minister. My mother worked part time as a maid to support the family. They are my heroes. Six of my siblings enlisted in the Army, and I decided to enlist in the Navy with the hope of getting a NROTC [Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp] scholarship via the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) Program and I wanted to be different from my three older brothers who joined the Army.

I was persuaded to join the Navy because two of my high school classmates enlisted into the Submarine Force. However, I wanted to be a pilot and an astronaut, but realized that I needed to be a commissioned officer to achieve that dream. Fortunately, a Navy recruiter steered me towards the BOOST Program with my goal of getting accepted into NROTC or the Naval Academy. Boot Camp in San Diego, Calif., and my one year of enlisted service were invaluable. I subsequently received a SECNAV [Secretary of the Navy] appointment to the Naval Academy. During my four years at Annapolis, I did some soul searching and finally decided that being a pilot was not the career path for me. Consequently, by my senior year at the academy, I began to consider other options for service selection. Several submariners at the Naval Academy impressed me so much that I chose submarines in 1988. Almost 25 years later, I have no regrets and I’m proud to be a submariner.

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