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Awards Program


We maintain a dynamic awards program. We single out members of our community – military, civilian, and future members – whose achievements have warranted individual recognition for their contribution to the legacy of Surface Warriors.

If you have any questions about a specific award or about our program in general please email awards@navysna.org.


List of Awards


Click on the toggler below to view our complete list of awards. To see the deadlines & summaries for each award click on its name.


Admiral Arleigh Burke Surface Warfare Operational Excellence Award


Deadline to Submit: 15 October

Recognizing superior achievements in the operational aspects of Surface Warfare, by qualified Surface Warfare Officers, & Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists. This award not only recognizes the activity where operational excellence was demonstrated or required, but also in the activities during deployments of surface ships that require the skill & professionalism of all Surface Warriors.


Naval deployments constitute the basis for Forward Presence and Expeditionary Warfare demanded by our nation. They are quantifiable in time, mission, & result. The professionalism demonstrated during these deployments is extremely important to the continued improvement of the Surface Warfare community. Appropriate recognition of individuals who excel in the operational art of Surface Warfare is beneficial to the Surface Warfare Community, the United States Navy, as well as the United States.

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  • Candidates must be junior Surface Warfare Officers (SWO) or junior Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialists (ESWS), in the United States Navy, or in the United States Naval Reserve.
  • These Candidates must have exhibited sustained excellence in the operational art of Surface Warfare, on US Navy surface ships.
  • The Commanding Officer may nominate ONE Officer and ONE Sailor, from the crew, who have displayed exceptional execution of Surface Warfare Operations during the deployment. Every discipline of Operational Surface Warfare should be taken into account when considering selectees. Selectees should have demonstrated superior action or commendable results in one or more of these significant Surface Warfare disciplines.
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  1. Nomination form MUST be submitted along WITH Commanding Officer write-up no later than 15 October. Write-Up's MUST include actions, achievements, and any actions deemed important for the commitee to review.
  2. The nominee’s accomplishments will be reviewed by the Awards Committee. One officer & one enlisted member from the Atlantic & the Pacific Commands, will be deemed by the Awards Committee to be especially worthy of further recognition. These nominee’s will be brought to the Executive Committee in order to receive an invitation to attend the annual Surface Navy Association National Symposium to accept their award.
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  1. How many nominees can a command submit per award?
  2. Is an ISIC endorsement required?
  3. Do you require a hard copy of the award package to be mailed to the SNA office?
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Admiral Zumwalt Award for Visionary Leadership

Deadline to Submit: 15 October

Honoring an officer or senior enlisted person who most clearly exemplifies the extraordinary qualities, vision & incisiveness of the nineteenth Chief of Naval Operations.


For those who demonstrate dynamic leadership, operational excellence, unselfish dedication to duty, visionary zeal and exemplary care for personnel under his or her direction.

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  • The intent of the award is to empower junior officers and senior enlisted personnel to help recognize those who have improved the readiness of the Navy and the lives of those who man it.
  • To be considered, potential recipients must be nominated in writing by an active duty member who may be EQUAL or JUNIOR to them in rank/rate. Each nomination must be accompanied by an endorsement from the Commanding Officer.
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  1. The award will be determined by a panel of active duty or retired individuals selected by the Surface Navy Association Executive Committee (nominally one flag officer, two senior officers (O5-O6), two junior officers (O3-O4), two senior enlisted (E6-E9) and a member from the sponsor’s staff).
  2. Two awards will be presented, one E3-E6 and one E7-O4.
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  1. How many nominees can a command submit?
  2. Can the nominator also be the Commanding Officer?
  3. Can the endorsement be sent from the Commanding Officer instead of the ISIC?
  4. Does the nomination need to be routed through the chain of command and endorsed by the Commanding Officer?
  5. How long should the nomination be in length?
  6. Who signs the nomination write-up?
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CAPT Raymond Komorowski Photo Award

Deadline to Submit: 1 October

This award was initiated to showcase the professional activities & lives of the Surface Warfare Community. Featuring images that represent their contribution in the following areas; naval warfare; archival material, & educating the citizens of the United States regarding surface warfare department & its achievements.


  • The award is divided into three categories: Ships, Operations (gunnery, refueling, etc.), & Personal Interest (must be Surface Navy related, can include family).
  • Up 3 photos per photographer are allowed. Any submissions made after the limit is reached will be disqualified.
  • Submissions may be taken throughout the year and are submitted electronically.
  • Must pass all Navy safety standards and be in good taste and conduct. Must be unclassified – no scenes with classified material/spaces in the background.
  • Photo submissions are accepted from both amateur & professional photographers in the following categories: SNA Member, SNA Member Dependents, or select Non-Members.
  • Entries must not have been previously published, in any media accessible to the public or Navy-wide (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). Prior publication could result in the relinquishment of prize awards. Entries must be received electronically by established contest deadlines.
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There are three winners in each category and one is designated as the Grand Prize Winner.

All photos become the property of the Surface Navy Association for exclusive use until ninety days after the SNA National Symposium. Prize photos will be submitted for possible publication in Surface Warfare Magazine. The winning photographs will be displayed appropriately at the annual SNA Symposium.

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In consideration of the awards presented to the winning images, photographers grant exclusive use of their winning images to SNA for use in their various media and possibly Surface Warfare Magazine, starting from selection as winner until 90 days after the National Symposium where the award is presented. Photographers retain ownership and copyright of their submitted images however, grants all rights in perpetuity to SNA to reproduce, display, publish, distribute, create derivative works of submissions while crediting the photographer (where feasible). SNA use of any submitted images not winning awards will be at the discretion of SNA and subject to arrangements with the respective photographers.

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Chapter Excellence Award

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Command Master Chief/Senior Chief Recognition Award

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Distinguished Graduate Award

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Literary Award

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Master Gunner George Sirian Meritorious Service Award

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Naval War College Surface Navy Association Award

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NJROTC Essay Contest

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RADM Herbert E. Schonland Award for Excellence in Damage Control

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Recruiter of the Year Grant

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Senior Enlisted Academy Naval Heritage Award

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Ship Warfare Qualification Program Award

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Shiphandler of the Year Award

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Special Recognition

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Stephen Decatur, JR. Award

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Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman of the Year Award

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Surface Sailors of the Year Award

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Surface Warfare Historical Remembrance

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Surface Warfare Officer of the Year

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Surface Warfare Research Award

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“The Old Salt”

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“The Old Tar”

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USNA YP Squadron Commodore Award

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