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Surface Forces Selects First-Ever SWO of the Year
By Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Elena A. Velazquez
Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO — Manning, training, equipping and sustaining in excess of 160 ships is the mission of Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR). To accomplish this mission, one must go deep inside the gray hulls of these ships, through the passageways and spaces filled with computers, weapons and supplies to see the outstanding, hard-charging U.S. Navy Sailors who make these floating cities ready for any task handed to them. In one case, Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Tamulevich, Combat Systems Officer aboard the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), rose above his fellow surface warriors and was selected as the first-ever Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) of the Year.

Twenty-five officers from across the entire Surface Force were nominated by their respective leadership for this award. Tamulevich's record rose above the rest after a thorough review of all submissions. "This award recognizes the finest we have in the Surface Warfare community and, as expected, the competition was extremely keen,” said Vice Adm. D. C. Curtis Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “Everyone nominated for this elite group is to be commended and awarded for their dedication and demonstrated superior performance.”

A native of Annapolis, Md., Tamulevich, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a major in oceanography and was commissioned in 1999 said, “I still find myself in awe at having received this distinction. I know many of the other nominees and have the highest respect and admiration for them. They are terrific leaders and mentors in the surface community, and to find myself as the inaugural recipient of this award is both humbling and an honor.”

The SWO of the Year award was created by SURFOR to recognize the SWO who best personifies the ideals of SWO pride: excellence in warfighting and leadership, expertise in tactics, engineering, and weapons systems, and a commitment to mission accomplishment through superior professionalism and personal example.

Tamulevich's commanding officer was very confident in his nominee. “I was looking for a true leader and warfighter that personified today's SWO and someone a young officer could look up to and gain inspiration from,” said John Paul Jones’ Commanding Officer Cmdr. Sam Hancock on his nomination for the SWO of the Year Award. “[Tamulevich] is an all around superb Naval Officer and true warfighter. He is a standout leader in my wardroom and on the waterfront. I could not ask for a better officer - he was an obvious choice.”

Several Sailors commented that he is someone you would choose to be your leader, has high demanding standards, and is knowledgeable in all aspects of the SWO community.

“I view [Tamulevich] as a leader who is focused on the mission and the tasks that come with the demands of the U.S. Navy and our country,” said Information Systems Technician 1st class (SW) Ronnie Scott. “I would jump at the chance to serve on a ship under his command.”

Senior Chief Fire Controlman (SW) said, “Tamulevich leads from the front; be it his tactical knowledge, his mentorship or his true regard for the personal lives of his Sailors. I have yet to meet a Sailor that has not grown or benefited from having him in their chain of command.”

Up and down the chain of command, it is readily apparent that Tamulevich has set a very high standard for current and future Surface Warfare Officers to pursue.

The SWO of the Year will be awarded a Navy Commendation Medal and recognized at the Surface Navy Association Symposium in January. A plaque, in his honor, will also be displayed at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI.

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