WASHINGTON - The chief of naval operations (CNO) presented the Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale Leadership Award to two commanders at the Pentagon in the Hall of Heroes Nov. 27.
Adm. Jonathan Greenert presented the annual award, which is presented to two active duty commanding officers below the rank of captain, to Cmdr. Chase Patrick, representing the Pacific Fleet, and Cmdr. Brian Sittlow, representing the Atlantic Fleet.
Patrick and Sittlow were presented the award due to their leadership, personal initiative and exemplary performance and contribution to the overall success of the operational units they command.
"I talked to the [winners] today and they both said 'It's not about me, it's about the people I serve with,'" said Greenert. "[But] what's really special about this award is that it encompasses performance, as well as character... it is peer nominated. Someone had to sit down and write a one-page synopsis about why these men deserve this award... They inspire and epitomize what Stockdale was about."
Greenert went on to describe the two successful commanding officers and credited their spouses who, like all military husbands and wives, bear much of the burden of military service.
Patrick took command of USS Chafee (DDG 90), stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hi., in 2010. He has earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals and three Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.
"It is humbling to be chosen for this award," said Patrick. "To be an effective leader you have to care about each individual Sailor. If you put your all into being a good leader for them, I have found that they'll put their all into giving you the best possible effort. It's a team effort, and a team award."
Sittlow, reported aboard the USS Boise (SSN 764) in 2010. He has earned numerous awards for his service, but said he is most proud of the unit awards that the submarines he has served on have earned during deployed operations.
Both awardees were nominated by their peers and were recommended by their fleet commanders for consideration by a panel of senior officers.
The Stockdale Leadership award is an annual award and is presented to two commissioned officers who are in command of a single ship, submarine, aviation squadron, or operational warfare unit. It was established in honor of Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale. His distinguished naval career symbolizes the highest standards of excellence in both personal example and leadership. Candidates must be nominated by peers who themselves must be eligible for the award.
Stockdale was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a pilot. In September 1965, he ejected out of his A-4E Skyhawk over North Vietnam and for eight years was held prisoner and frequently tortured. In 1976, he received the Medal of Honor. He served as president of the Naval War College in Newport, R.I., from October 1977 until August 1979. Stockdale died in 2005 and is buried at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.