PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 22, 2016) Ensign Daniel Luciani observes as an amphibious assault vehicle, attached to the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, prepare to enter the well deck of amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Boxer is currently underway conducting routine operations off the coast of Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo Petty Officer 2nd Class Jose Jaen/Released)
Boxer Receives Sixth Consecutive Battle 'E'

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) announced, March 14, amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) is one of 36 surface ships which will receive the Battle Effectiveness Award (Battle "E") for 2016.

This Battle "E" marks the sixth consecutive year and the 12th time Boxer has received the award, which annually recognizes ships and crews which best exemplify the qualities of readiness and capability to perform assigned wartime tasking.

"The Battle 'E' is a rewarding validation of the hard work of nearly 1,200 Sailors over the last 2 years, but you have to remain humble and focused on the task at hand," said Capt. Benjamin J. Allbritton, commanding officer. "A ship is only as good as it's last successful evolution. As an old XO (executive officer) of mine once said, 'Stop admiring your jump shot and get back on defense.' Real professionals keep raising the bar, and the Boxer crew does that every day."

To qualify for Battle "E" consideration, a surface ship must win a minimum of four of the five Command Excellence Awards to include Maritime Warfare (Black "E"), Engineering/Survivability (Red "E"), Command and Control (Green "E"), Logistics Management (Blue "E"), and SURFOR Ship Safety (Yellow "E"). Boxer won all five.

"Boxer has maintained sustained superior performance while both at sea and in port, and it really speaks of the crews' great commitment to the mission and battle readiness," said Cmdr. Eric Cottrell, operations officer. "It also speaks to the steady strain approach taken by the leadership and crew given the many tasks the ship had to perform, including its arduous WESTPAC [western Pacific] deployment last year."

Earning the Battle "E" is not only a unit award, but a source of success Sailors may view as an achievement throughout their time in the Navy. Every Boxer Sailor who was a member of the crew during 2016 is now eligible to wear the Battle "E" ribbon on their uniform. Any Boxer Sailor who already has a Battle "E" award from a previous command can now add an additional "E" device to the ribbon.

"This is an award that you carry with you the rest of your naval career," said Lt. Cmdr. Kurt Astroth, Boxer's navigation officer. "A Battle 'E' is really about the crew, because without a crew a ship is just an empty steel hull. I have had the privilege of serving on other Battle 'E' ships, and when I arrived on Boxer I could tell that this was a Battle 'E'-level ship from the professionalism of its Sailors and the organization of its leaders."

Boxer leadership continues to emphasize the importance of going above and beyond the high standards already set. "Our expectation is that Boxer continues to be the best LHD on the waterfront," said Cottrell. "The standard has been set and we should not just rest on our laurels, but seek further areas of improvement." Boxer is currently in its homeport undergoing a phased maintenance availability. For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy. For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit http://www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.
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