Vice Adm. Kurt Tidd, assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, became the 19th recipient of the “Old Salt” award in a ceremony at the Pentagon, June 22.
The “Old Salt” award is presented to the surface warfare officer serving on continuous active duty with the earliest surface warfare officer qualification, which is the first milestone qualification an eligible commissioned officer may receive in surface warfare.
The award is sponsored by the Surface Navy Association and was passed from Adm. Samuel Locklear to Tidd.
“It’s a tremendous honor to have been on active duty as a surface warfare officer for all these years,” said Locklear. “So to pass it on is a little bit bitter sweet but it’s good to have this opportunity and I’m proud of it.”
Tidd said he never expected to serve this long and is humbled by this experience.
“It’s a mixed blessing,” said Tidd. “On the one hand it is a testimony to being the last person standing in line behind an awful lot of superbly qualified people who have gone before you. On the other hand, it’s a real pleasure because it’s recognition of the fact that I’ve been able to be a part of this organization and be a member of this professional community for over 35 years now.”
The names of past “Old Salts” have their names engraved on brass plates added to the base of the Old Salt statue. The statue is then held in the custody of the current “Old Salt” for the remainder of his active duty tenure. Upon Tidd’s retirement, the Old Salt statue will be passed on to the next officer, who will determined by a search of records, a recommendation by director of surface warfare, and approval by the Board of the Surface Navy Association.
The prestigious award has been held by numerous great leaders such as former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and former Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Adm. John Harvey.
Tidd is a 1978 U.S. Naval Academy graduate with 37 years of naval service. He earned his surface warfare officer qualification in June 1980 aboard USS Semmes (DDG 18).
Tidd wanted to give Sailors advice on how to have a successful naval career.
“Enjoy every single assignment that comes down,” said Tidd. “Find the joy, passion and pleasure in each job that you get every time you go to sea. Learn from those who have gone before you and take the lessons to apply to your own personal toolkit.”