NEWS | Aug. 18, 2010

NRL holds inaugural Celebration of NRL Service ceremony

By Amanda Bowie

In a ceremony held at the Naval Research Laboratory on August 19, 2010, Capt. Paul Stewart, NRL Commanding Officer, and Dr. John Montgomery, NRL Director of Research, recognized the loyalty of NRL employees who have completed from five to fifty years of continuous service, in increments of five years, at NRL. The Celebration of NRL Service recognized 1,756 employees who have collectively accumulated 33,702.15 years of service.

The inaugural Celebration of NRL Service ceremony was, according to Capt. Stewart, our way of saying thank you and recognizing those that have dedicated so many years to one organization and remain committed to the mission of NRL. Capt. Stewart went on to say, NRL is a world class research organization, the core of which is our people. As global crises vary from year to year; and DoD leadership responds to these near-term issues; it is NRL's long-term continuous pursuit of solving some of science's hardest questions that results in DoD's technological edge. This continuous, long-term approach stems from a continuity of service which we wish to recognize; it is those committed and dedicated NRL employees who have been and continue to be part of Naval history.

Dr. Montgomery shared in Capt. Stewart's sentiments as he recognized NRL's workforce--the scientists, engineers, and dedicated support personnel as critical to the Lab's success and meeting its mission. Montgomery sees NRL's workforce as the ones who have changed the world in the past and who are today reshaping the future in ways profound, and as yet unseen. If the past is any guide, the world will be different and better for their efforts. They are those who apply the knowledge gained through their research to enable new capabilities for Naval warfighters, and whose research results save lives every day among those who go in harm's way.

Undoubtedly, NRL has propelled into a world-class research organization because of its people. Currently, there are over 2,500 civilians and 100 military personnel working in various positions throughout the Laboratory. Of those employees, over 800 hold doctorate degrees, 326 hold masters degrees, and 537 hold bachelors degrees. A 30-year continuous service pin recipient, Dr. Richard Colton, Superintendent of NRL's Chemistry Division said of the NRL's workforce, NRL can boast that it has some of the top scientists and engineers in the research and development business. There is a spirit of cooperation and collaboration across all NRL Divisions that is a unique and distinguishing feature of NRL. Colton began his career at NRL in 1976 as part of the NRC-NRL Cooperative Research Associateship Program and has conducted basic and applied research in surface chemistry and nanoscience/nanotechnology ever since.

Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of the Laboratory are researchers who have spent most of, or entire careers supporting NRL's mission just as Mr. Edward Barr has, a 45-year continuous service pin recipient. Barr, the assistant head of NRL's Transmission Technology branch in the Information Technology Division, since coming onboard NRL in June of 1961 as an engineer in the field of communication, has enjoyed being able to witness and contribute to the huge changes in the way that military and civilian populations communicate electronically. He recalls that in 1960, the military communicated by transmitting low data-rate signals from various fixed land-based transmitters around the world. Today there are multitudes of ways to communicate and receive information... Barr sees the Laboratory as unique among all the choices to work in the Washington, DC area. He credits his longevity at NRL to the diversity in the areas of research; seeing and being around projects and programs that are actually helping our military (Army, Navy, and Marines) in a number of areas as well as saving lives; meeting and mentoring the young men and women who come to work for NRL in Code 5550 and watching them grow, mature and eventually become outstanding contributors to our many efforts.

The NRL sets out to create a nurturing climate for inventiveness and productivity that supports the needs of the Navy and nation. Dr. George Doschek, Head of NRL's Solar Terrestrial Relationships Branch in the Space Science Division agrees that NRL is, a wonderful place to do cutting edge basic research. Throughout his 40 years of service at the Laboratory, Doscheck says he has been, privileged and proud to be a member of a team of researchers in solar physics that have developed instrumentation and theoretical tools that have allowed us to define with precision the physical conditions in the solar atmosphere. Dr. Bruce Danly, Superintendent of NRL's Radar Division and a nearly 15-year employee of NRL, enjoys working at the Laboratory principally because of the people, the quality science and engineering that occurs here, and the sense of purpose to our mission. There is no doubt that the breadth and quality of the scientific work performed at NRL, coupled with a stimulating and challenging environment, make the Laboratory a rich, interesting, and unique place to be.

The inaugural ceremony was held in the month of August to commemorate a special time in NRL's history; it was in August 1916 that Congress appropriated $1,000,000 for the construction of the Naval Research Laboratory and an additional $500,000 for the initial year of operation. Ground was broken for Building 1 in December 1920.

The NRL began operations on July 2, 1923; seven years after inventor Thomas Edison suggested the Government establish a great research laboratory. Since its establishment, NRL has excelled in its mission of conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development directed toward maritime applications of new and improved materials; techniques; equipment; systems; and ocean, atmospheric, and space science and related technologies. Products of the Laboratory include a number of innovations that have revolutionized capabilities of the United States Navy and nation as a whole.