The U.S. Navy has honored thirty-six sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) who distinguished themselves for their bravery and contributions to damage control efforts, at a ceremony on Oct. 20.
Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal to 36 members of the Fitzgerald crew and a Flag Letter of Commendation to the ship’s two ombudsmen for their support to families.
The Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal is awarded to service members who distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement or meritorious service.
Following the collision, which claimed the lives of seven Fitzgerald Sailors, the crew fought back against progressive flooding across 19 spaces for more than 16 consecutive hours. Facing constant peril from flooding, electrocution, structural damage and noxious fumes, these Sailors prevented further loss of life and ultimately saved the ship.
The list of personnel receiving awards is as follows:
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
- Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Alexander R. Vaughn (Surface Warfare)
- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Johsua E. Tapia (Surface Warfare)
- Lt. j.g. Stephany M. Breau
- Lt. j.g. Heather A. Bui
- Ens. Joseph A. White
- (Gold star in lieu of third award) Senior Chief Gunner’s Mate Christopher Perez (Surface Warfare/Expeditionary Warfare)
- (Gold star in lieu of second award) Chief Fire Controlman Travius L. Caldwell (Surface Warfare)
- Chief Gunner’s Mate Jared B. Ogilvie (Surface Warfare/Expeditionary Warfare)
- Damage Controlman 1st Class Emanuel Ascensio (Surface Warfare/Aviation Warfare)
- Quartermaster 1st Class Carlos G. Clark (Surface Warfare)
- Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Lucas W. Giles (Surface Warfare)
- Damage Controlman 2nd Class Sabria D. Greaves (Surface Warfare)
- Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Darion L. Hunter (Surface Warfare)
- Damage Controlman 2nd Class David J. Marnien (Surface Warfare)
- Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joshua A. Mason (Surface Warfare)
- Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Sanerive J. Meredith (Surface Warfare)
- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Jackson T. Schrimsher (Surface Warfare)
- Operations Specialist 2nd Class Matthew H. Stawecki (Surface Warfare)
- Fire Controlman 2nd Class Romel A. Wade (Surface Warfare)
- Damage Controlman 2nd Class Rebekah Wilson (Surface Warfare)
- Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Aaron R. Aurelio
- Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Danya A. Cribbs
- Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Samuel A. Hill (Surface Warfare)
- Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Nathan W. Lauritzen
- Damage Controlman 3rd Class Joshua H. Rodriguez
- Damage Controlman 3rd Class Louis B. Simeone (Surface Warfare)
- Damage Controlman 3rd Class Ryan P. Sorensen
- Hospitalman Gaylord M. Lawrence
- Fireman Matthew J. Mugg
- Fireman Tyler D. Perkey
- Fireman James A. Strickland
Flag Letter of Commendation
- Garrett Zopfi
- Kumi Bergstraser
The Navy has awarded a contract to move Fitzgerald via a heavy-lift vessel to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Pascagoula, Mississippi, for restoration.
Fitzgerald was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel ACX Crystal June 17.
U.S. 7th Fleet