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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

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 those who most clearly exemplify 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 officers and enlisted personnel to 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-O5.
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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

Winners Announced in January

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

This award recognizes the Chapters of Surface Navy Association that go above & beyond. Chapter programs are key to the ultimate success and effectiveness of the Surface Navy Association. Chapters that are particularly successful and meet specific requirements will be recognized for their efforts with the Chapter Excellence Award at the National Symposium in January.

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Command Master Chief/Senior Chief Recognition Award

This award is presented to all new Surface Command Master Chiefs & Senior Chiefs, who are graduating from the Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport RI.

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Distinguished Graduate Award


Literary Award

Deadline to Submit: 1 November

This award recognizes the best professional article in any publication addressing the Surface Navy or Surface Warfare issues.

The article must be published during the preceding year, beginning on 15 October.

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  1. Nominees are selected from articles nominated by Chapter Presidents, Board Members, Superintendent of the Navy Postgraduate School, President of the Naval War College, Editor of the Naval War College Review, & Editor of the United States Naval Institute Proceedings.
  2. Articles are reviewed by the SNA Editorial board appointed annually by the chairman of the National Award Committee.
  3. The Editorial board then ranks the articles & forwards the same to the National Awards Committee for the final award selections.
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A $1,000 check is awarded. This check is jointly sponsored by SNA & USNI ($500 each). Winner will receive a crystal commemorative award. Any Honorable Mention(s) will receive a framed certificate of recognition.

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Master Gunner George Sirian Meritorious Service Award


Naval War College Surface Navy Association Award


NJROTC Essay Contest

Deadline to Submit: 15 February

This award engages NJROTC cadets in understanding and appreciating the sacrifices of our WWII veterans, Navy core values, and what it means to be a shipmate. SNA Awards Committee will select the top three essays submitted by NJROTC units.

  • Units are encouraged to conduct a local competition to select a winning essay.
  • Units may submit one essay written by a Unit cadet to not exceed 500 words in 12 point, Times New Roman Font, explaining their thoughts about how sailors exhibited honor, courage, and commitment andwhat it meant to be a shipmate during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Students are asked to focus on surface ship involvement to include the U.S. Navy and the U. S. Coast Guard.Students can research on their own or use examples from documents that will be provided via email to NJROTC leaders by SNA. (There will not be a video this year due to delayed production as a result of COVID-19.)
  • Essay should be submitted to SNA by the NJROTC Unit SNSI or equivalent.
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  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place will be awarded to winning essays.
  • Cadets will be awarded a cash prize ($500, $250 and $125) and the units they represent will receive a cash award ($1,000, $500 and $250).
  • Essays will be published in our Surface SITREP.
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RADM Herbert E. Schonland Award for Excellence in Damage Control


Recruiter of the Year Grant


Senior Enlisted Academy Naval Heritage Award


Ship Warfare Qualification Program Award


Shiphandler of the Year Award

Surface Warfare professionals have always prided themselves on expert handling of their ships. Since the early days of sailing ships, an Officer of the Deck or Captain of a ship develops & maintains a reputation as a professional seafarer in large part by the skilled handling of his or her ship in all types of weather, formation maneuvers, approaches to the anchorage or pier, keeping to the channels & fairways in ports & harbors & more recently, taking & maintaining position alongside in underway replenishment. Crisp, direct & safe handling of the ship are marks of the expert. The purpose of this award is to recognize Surface Warfare professionals that excel in the art of naval shiphandling.

The winner of the SURFOR shiphandling competition will be recognized by this award.

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  1. SURFOR will control the schedule & participants for the Shiphandling trainers in Norfolk, Virginia, & San Diego, California, respectively & other elements of the shiphandling competitions.
  2. At the conclusion of the competitive cycle for the Shiphandling Competitions, Surface Navy Association (SNA) will be notified of the winner & runner-up.
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The winner will be presented with the Shiphandler Award that includes an engraved plaque & invited to the National SNA Symposium to participate in the Awards Luncheon & Banquet. The runner-up will receive a certificate of recognition.

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Special Recognition Award

This award is awarded to Surface Navy Association members, dependents, and retirees whose community-related activities go 'above and beyond' as well as promoting the Surface Navy.

Stephen Decatur, JR. Award

Deadline to Submit: May 31st by 1600

Selected by the NJROTC unit commander. One awardee for each category may be selected annually from each unit. The selections will be presented to the Surface Navy Association no later than May 25th.

  • Possess a character reflecting the Navy's core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment
  • Demonstrates leadership potential
  • Demonstrates an aptitude in NJROTC as evidenced by motivation, performance of duty and military bearing
  • Receives a "B" or better in NJROTC during the current year and also has a minimum of a cumulative "B" average in academic studies.
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Award One
(Freshman/Sophomore Cadet)

A Certificate of Recognition and a ribbon from Surface Navy Association will be presented by the Unit Commander with the participation of the local SNA Chapter where practical. Navy Recruiters should be invited to attend.

Award Two
(Junior Cadet)

A Certificate of Recognition and a medal from Surface Navy Association will be presented by the Unit Commander with the participation of the local SNA Chapter where practical. Navy Recruiters should be invited to attend.

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Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman of the Year Award

The Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman (SFIDC) Navy Enlisted Code (NEC) 8425 was established to identify highly motivated and specially trained Hospital Corpsman to manage health programs and provide primary care under indirect supervision at sea.

Surface Sailors of the Year Award


Surface Warfare Historical Remembrance


Surface Warfare Officer of the Year


Surface Warfare Research Award


“The Old Salt”


“The Old Tar”


USNA YP Squadron Commodore Award


Video Competition

Deadline to Submit: 1 October

To creatively promote the values of the Surface Navy Association and to actively engage the Surface fleet and SNA members to choreograph and produce a Surface Warfare “spirit spot” video, showcasing Sailor’s lives in the Surface Navy and Coast Guard (at sea and ashore) or supporting surface warfare in industry.

1st Place - USCGC Bailey Barco

LT Anna Ruth, CO


2nd Place - Coastal Riverine Group One

BMC Nelson Doromal

CRF Mission: Execute combat support and service to support missions across the full spectrum of naval operations, freedom of action throughout the sea-to-shore to provide deployable navy expeditionary combat forces in support of combatant commanders

3rd Place - USNS Herschel Williams, ESB-4

ABFAN Romeo Garcia

Ship: Hershel “Woody” Williams

  • Only one video entry per command or industry group.
  • Video must be no more than 2 minutes in length and be submitted in mp4 format.
  • Video must incorporate SNA logo a minimum of two times.
  • The video must portray Surface Warfare in a positive light. Must pass all Navy and Coast Guard safety standards and be in good taste and conduct. Must be unclassified – no scenes with classified material/spaces in the background. No solicitation for corporate businesses. Must not have been published previously.
  • If music or any other audio is included in the video, it must be royalty-free or have proof of authorization for use to prevent copyright violations.
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  • A monetary award will be given to the command’s MWR fund or to the industry individual or group.
  • Cash prizes will be: 1st place - $600, 2nd place - $300 and 3rd place - $200.
  • Invitation to the SNA annual Symposium to a single representative from the winning video.
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Videos will be submitted by 01 October online to National and the Awards Committee will vote based on the above criteria. Videos will be judged based on merit for creativity, artistic quality, and portraying a positive image of surface warfare. Videos will be showcased at the SNA Symposium.

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Federal Sites
Library of Congress Social Security Administration United States House of Representatives United States Senate
Getting Started
DefenseLINK News and information about DoD Naval History and Heritage Command Navy Jobs U.S. Coast Guard U.S. Navy The official Navy website with an overview of the organization, ships, etc.
Major Installations/Regions
Commander Fleet Activities, Yokosuka Military OneSource One-stop shopping for information on bases around the world. A great resource for PCS time. Naval Base Kitsap Naval District Washington Naval Station Norfolk Naval Station Rota Naval Station San Diego, CA Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy Pearl Harbor/Hickam
BUMED TRICARE Latest information on the health services program for military personnel and their families. United Concordia Military's Dental Plan
Navy-Related Sites
Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society Navy Memorial Navy Mutual Aid Association Navy Veteran Locator U.S. Naval Institute
Fleet Forces Command Naval Forces, Central Command Naval Forces, Japan Naval Forces, Korea Naval Forces, Marianas U.S. 3rd Fleet U.S. 4th Fleet U.S. 6th Fleet U.S. 7th Fleet U.S. Atlantic Fleet U.S. Pacific Command U.S. Pacific Fleet
Department of Veterans Affairs Destroyers Online Fleet Reserve Association Historic Naval Ships Association (HNSA) Marine Corps Mine Warfare Association Naval Order of the U.S. Naval Historical Foundation Naval Technology Navy League Military Officer Association of America U.S. Navy Cruiser Sailors Association Vietnam Veterans
Defense Finance and Accounting Service The military pay section has the latest pay charts and allowances information. Naval Personnel Command
All Hands Naval Reservist News Navy Directives Navy News Service The principal news service of the DoN. Surface Warfare Magazine
Anchor Scholarship Foundation
Naval Vessel Registry Official registry of U.S. Naval Ships. Navy Surface Forces USS CONSTITUTION USS CONSTITUTION Museum
Warrior-Scholar Project Site of the Warrior-Scholar Project. Naval Education and Training Site of the Navy's training gurus. NJROTC A program for high school students seeking the Navy experience. NROTC All about the program that turns college students into officers. NTC Great Lakes