SAN DIEGO - Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer (DDG) USS Pinckney (DDG 91) earned the USS Arizona Memorial Trophy July 11.
The biannual award is presented to the ship regarded as the most combat-ready ship in the surface force.
Pinckney demonstrated the greatest combat readiness in strike warfare, surface fire support and anti-surface warfare during the 2009 and 2010 calendar year competitive cycle.
"Selection for this coveted award reflects the impressive technical expertise and professionalism exhibited by USS Pinckney's crew over the past two years," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead. "Totally dedicated to the highest level of combat systems operational readiness and warfighting proficiency, they performed brilliantly in exercises as well as real world anti-submarine warfare and strike missions spanning the 3rd, 5th, and 7th Fleets areas of responsibility."
"It was certainly an honor for us to get the award, covering two years worth of work. Being able to be recognized for work over a longer period of time is very meaningful to the crew," said Lt. j.g. Ian Campbell, Pinckney's assistant weapons officer.
While both the combat systems and weapons departments were integral in achieving the trophy, it required a collaborative effort of the entire crew.
"Only one ship gets (the award) every other year. Everybody on board worked really hard throughout the training cycle, everybody was a part of it," said Ensign James Mannion, Pinckney's strike officer.
While there is no way to train specifically for the award, Campbell said it is the crew's hard work and dedication that helped them reach the level of excellence which distinguished them from the rest of the fleet.
"I think with all the requirements destroyers have to go through, there is no special training that we do. I think it's more of just going at every evolution with 110 percent and putting all the effort in and focus that we need to do our best," said Campbell. "We take every exercise seriously, and I guess the results show."
For Sailors who have been aboard the Pinckney for several years, the award stands as an acknowledgement of their teamwork and dedication to their mission.
"I think it's pretty awesome, especially since it covers a two-year period. I've been here for four and a half years so I've seen what it takes to operate well for that long, and to get recognized for it is a nice little pat on the back," said Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class (SW) Rhawna Villanueva, assigned to Pinckney's weapons department.
Pinckney is currently gearing up for a seven-month deployment with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) as part of Carrier Strike Group 3.
"We're about to roll into our next deployment. The last one was pretty successful, so hopefully we can do some more good things," said Campbell.