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Families Help Patriot Win Battle "E"
USS PATRIOT, At Sea (NNS) -- Commander Naval Surface Forces announced the mine counter-measures ship USS Patriot (MCM 7) the winner of the 2009 Battle Efficiency award for Commander Mine Counter-Measures Squadron 1 Feb. 11.

Patriot has now won four consecutive Battle "E" awards.

"There is a very strong and proud tradition here. The sailors really put forth 110 percent, and that is demonstrated by four consecutive Battle 'E's," said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Mainor, Patriot's commanding officer.

The win also demonstrates the strength of Patriot's training program.

"It's solid proof, winning four consecutive years, that our training program is working, because we're continuing to produce winners, and raise our performance level," said Command Senior Chief Brent Tidwell.

But the success would not have been possible without the support of Patriot's families.

"Oh yeah! This past year everybody's put their lives, personal lives, on the back burner for us to get through what we accomplished this year. No doubt about it. And that's what I'm truly proud of, is the team spirit that's on here, both on the home front and on board ship," said Tidwell.

Last year was a challenging one for Patriot. A training cycle ended 2008, and 2009 began with exercise Foal Eagle, followed by a maintenance and material management certification, then Patriot had an intense Spring Patrol, after which there was a Board of Inspection and Survey inspection (INSURV), a Supply Management certification, and then the year ended with a Unit Level Training Assessment-Sustainment inspection, a Fall Patrol, and exercise Clear Horizon.

Prior to INSURV the crew has been working 12- to 16-hour days in port, and that hard work was reflected in Patriot's outstanding INSURV performance.

The four consecutive Battle "E"s are the product of a solid Maintenance and Material Management program and zone inspection program; an effective watch-team replacement plan; and solid leadership in the ward room, the chief's mess and the First Class Petty Officers Association, said Tidwell.

"Back to back to back to back. Work hard," said Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Jason Maslak of Patriot's Battle "E".

Patriot is one of four mine-countermeasures ships permanently forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan. The crew reports to Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet. They are currently conducting their spring patrol throughout the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans.
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