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Denver Earns Fifth Battle Efficiency Award
SINGAPORE (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Surface Forces awarded forward-deployed amphibious transport dock USS Denver (LPD 9) the Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") award for superior performance and mission readiness throughout 2009.

"Denver accomplished a lot last year," said Capt. Gregory J. Fenton, Denver's commanding officer. "We effectively completed our missions while keeping safety in the forefront. We represented what the Battle E Award is all about and I'm proud to be the captain of the ship that pulled that off."

This is the first time the Denver has received the Battle "E" since 1997 and the fifth time overall. To be eligible for the Battle Efficiency Award a ship needs to earn four of the five departmental effectiveness awards. In 2009, Denver surpassed the basic requirements and earned all five.

"I know we deserved it," said Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Gary J. Rivas. "We passed every test and completed every mission that was put in front of us. I've been in the Navy for 10 years and this is my first Battle E. It feels great."

After earning the required Departmental Battle "E" Awards, Denver was nominated above all other eligible ships by Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet. Denver will receive a plaque commemorating the achievement and all Sailors attached to Denver during 2009 are permitted to wear a Battle "E" ribbon for the rest of their Navy career.

"I wanted the Denver crew to be recognized as a group for all that they have accomplished," said Cmdr. Butch E. Neuenschwander, Denver's executive officer. "I think the best way to do that is to pin a Battle E ribbon on their chests and paint that big Battle E designator on the side of the ship. It is a culmination of a lot of hard work and the crew earned it."

Denver spent the first five months of 2009 in extended overhaul availability. The ship emerged from this availability on time and under budget, and was back out on patrol in less than two weeks. During her summer and fall patrols Denver completed numerous exercises and offered humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to Taiwan and Indonesia when they were affected by natural disasters. Denver ended the year by entering a drydock on short notice for maintenance on the ship's rudder.

"Denver Sailors had zero liberty incidents in 2009," said Neuenschwander. "So not only did the crew perform well with their day-to-day work, they were also model Sailors off the ship. They won the Captain's Cup and conducted themselves very well in all the ports we visited. The crew was phenomenal all year."

"As I wear the Battle E ribbon and look back proudly on this achievement, I will think about the great effort of Denver's junior Sailors, chiefs and officers," Fenton said. "The Battle E Award represents every single crew member's commitment to Denver's success and accomplishment of our mission."
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