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    Naval Submarine School Instructor and Niantic Native Recognized for Innovation During COVID-19

    Lt. Benjamin D. Smith End of Tour Award

    Photo By Ensign Charles E. Spirtos | Lt. Benjamin D. Smith is presented the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal as an...... read more read more

    NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE NEW LONDON, CT, UNITED STATES

    06.02.2021

    Story by Ensign Charles E. Spirtos 

    Naval Submarine School

    Lt. Benjamin D. Smith was presented the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal as an end-of-tour award by Capt. Steven W. Antcliff, commanding officer, Naval Submarine School, at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT on May 19, 2021.

    A native of Niantic, CT, Smith is ending his time in uniform after seven years of naval service. Smith’s most recent duty assignment was serving as the Prospective Nuclear Engineering Officer (PNEO) for the Naval Submarine School. In this capacity, Smith was in charge of ensuring that officer students received quality instruction in their preparation for department head screening. Smith was charged with the vital task of training submarine officers in order for them to become engineers aboard a nuclear powered submarine.

    Through his hard work and dedication, Smith ensured that over 150 office students passed the engineer examination, providing a new generation of highly qualified department heads to the submarine force. Thirteen of Smith’s students were recognized directly by the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (Naval Reactors) for academic excellence.

    Antcliff specifically highlighted Smith’s innovation which allowed for continued instruction with no interruption to the training pipeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews for selection as engineers in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program have historically been conducted in person with Naval Reactors in Washington, D.C.—a tradition dating back to 1949 when the first director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, promised to Congress that he would personally guarantee the qualifications of every Naval officer entrusted with responsibilities on a nuclear vessel.

    However, due to COVID-19’s impact on the ability for Sailors to travel, Smith led the charge to develop an alternative method of interviewing prospective engineers via secure video teleconferencing. “This is the first time in history these interviews have been conducted virtually, and Lt. Smith’s work in accomplishing this feat is groundbreaking,” said Antcliff.

    Smith was also directly recognized by Naval Reactors for his adaptive thinking. Because of Smith’s innovation and intuition, the Navy was able to still honor Rickover’s promise decades later in spite of unprecedented times.

    When reflecting on his naval career, Smith said that his time in the Navy and in the submarine force has taught him the value of a being part of a team.

    “Being part of a team means owning your successes as a group, but also owning up to your failures as a group. We are all responsible for creating a culture of success as a leader,” said Smith. “My time in the submarine service has shown me the power a team has, and has shown me the quality of the leaders that the submarine force is providing the Navy.”

    The Naval Submarine School builds a foundation upon which officers and enlisted personnel are prepared to develop the competence and proficiency in skills necessary to operate and maintain their submarines. The Naval Submarine School is part of the Navy’s Submarine Learning Center, and is located aboard Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 06.02.2021
    Date Posted: 06.02.2021 08:54
    Story ID: 397926
    Location: NAVAL SUBMARINE BASE NEW LONDON, CT, US 
    Hometown: NIANTIC, CT, US

    Web Views: 114
    Downloads: 0

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