"No One Goes Before Us"
NSWC PCD Engineers Earn Bravo Zulu for Technical Expertise, Real-Time Fleet Support
By Jacqui Barker, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division Public Affairs
PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) engineers received fleet accolades Dec. 28 for providing real-time, mine countermeasure technical support to USS Dextrous (MCM 13) for an 11-month period in 2012.

USS Dextrous (MCM 13) Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. M.D. Murphy, relayed a written "bravo zulu" to various scientists and engineers not only in Panama City, Fla., but throughout the U.S. Navy.

Of those mentioned in the Navy message, 16 NSWC PCD engineers were specifically named for their outstanding technical support.

"Your dedication and devotion proved invaluable to MCM (mine countermeasure) crew Exultant's and USS Dextrous (MCM 13) success," wrote Murphy.

NSWC PCD In-Service Engineering Agent Branch (Code A23) engineers provided specific real-time support to the SQQ-32 and SLQ-48 technical capabilities onboard Dextrous and to the ship and her crew. According to Joe Papciak Jr., NSWC PCD engineers also provided technical support to the AN/SSN-2 and AN/SSQ-94 systems.

"Bravo zulu, of course, stands for BRAVO ZULU, which means 'well done,'" said Papciak. "To me, it is the ultimate compliment to our project teams for the outstanding technical services they provide in keeping their systems operational and the MCM ships ready to fight."

NSWC PCD AN/SQQ-32 Project Engineer Rob Coffey, who earned a command excellence award for real world technical support, has provided direct support to the Fleet support and AN/SQQ-32 project since 1998. Coffey earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University in 1986 and said for him, personally, providing direct fleet support through the use of science and technology is very rewarding.

"Science and technology seeds the passion, inspires ingenuity, and realizes visions to improve and elevate our nation's fleet capabilities. From a personal perspective, it brings unique challenges in developing a team culture that thrives on innovation yet integrates all disciplines (engineering, logistics, and program management) to make a difference when it comes our Fleet In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) services," said Coffey.

"Knowing every element of our program actually supports and improves the equipment our shipmates use to keep them safe when they go into harm's way is humbling; yet nourishing for the next roll call," he added.

Coffey has spent "a great deal of time underway aboard U.S. Navy ships" but not in uniform. He began working for the government as a college intern, spent a majority of his career aboard MSO-301, MCM-1 and MHC-51 class ships working with the AN/SQQ-32 sonar performing testing, evaluations, operations, maintenance, and training services to the U.S. and foreign fleets.

"Working at the deck plate is continually rewarding from both and engineering and self-satisfaction perspective, and the gratification that naturally comes with the job is only intensified when our team receives these prestigious recognitions from the fleet. Although one word would be difficult to describe our feelings of achievement, flattering does come to mind; followed by a hardy 'Hoo-Rah,'" he said.

The mine warfare systems civil servants like Coffey serve as technical support agents to the U.S. Navy's mine countermeasure class of ships. Specifically, the AN/SLQ-48 and AN/SQQ-32 perform different functions but both identifies and neutralizes identified deep and shallow water mines using a remote-controlled submersible and sonar technology in support of the Avenger-class of mine countermeasure ships used by the U.S. Navy. The AN/SSN-2 is integrated hardware used for location and tracking of targets and is used for only the MCM 1 class ships. Finally, the AN/SSQ-94 technology is an on-board mine countermeasure trainer used for combat system teams or individual Sailors.

NSWC PCD Code A23 SQQ-32 Care Team engineers include: Rob Coffey, Lee Dittman, and contractors Ben Bancroft, John Best, and John Pipkin. NSWC PCD SLQ-48 SMARTT Team: Steve Rodgers; Dale Garwood, and contractors John Monn, and Skip Warrell. Additional NSWC PCD Code A23 support staff includes Andy Tatem, and Gary Kirkpatrick. Surface Systems Branch Code A12 staff include: contractor Djuana Donaldson; Lynda Nguyen; Jose Ortiz, and Dan Howell.

NSWC PCD Commanding Officer Capt. Scott Pratt, USN, said he was proud of the teams who worked long and hard to fulfill NSWC PCD's mission.

"Providing Sailors in the mine warfare field is one of our core mission areas, and I am so very pleased to receive positive work back from the fleet that we're giving our nation's warfighters the technical capabilities they need," said Pratt.

Also named in the message were NSWC Carderock Division (Code 752), and NAVSEA headquarters.

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