Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Amanda Gray, Commander, Submarine Group Nine Public Affairs
BANGOR, Wash. (NNS) — Lt. John Wayne Walker, from Houston, Texas, assigned to the Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), was presented with the 2017 Rear Adm. Willis “Pilly” A. Lent Tactics and Warfighting Award during a Navy League luncheon held at Bangor Plaza, May 9.
The award, which is also known as the Pilly Lent Award, is sponsored by the Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Navy League. The selection was most comprehensively carried out by many experienced submarine officers, up through the submarine squadron commander level and approved by Rear Adm. Frederick Roegge, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC).
“The Willis A (Pilly) Lent award was established last year to recognize and honor the most tactically proficient submarine department head in the Pacific Fleet,” said Capt. Alan Beam (ret.), President of the Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council of the Navy League of the United States. “It is fitting that this year’s awardee, Lt. John Wayne Walker, is the navigator of USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23); charged with developing and perfecting submarine tactics for the US Fleet. He is literally the best of the best serving on the largest and stealthiest SSN in the US Navy.“
Submarine commanding officers each nominated their top department head for this award. Squadron commanders researched each candidate and forwarded their top choice to COMSUBPAC. Roegge announced the winner in a Navywide message released March 20.
“Possessing a relentless ability to turn any Sailor into a professional war fighter, he was a driving force behind Jimmy Carter being awarded the 2016 Commander, Submarine Development Squadron 5 Battle Efficiency “E” for operational excellence,” said Cmdr. Melvin Smith, Jimmy Carter’s commanding officer. “Lt. Walker truly embodies the spirit of Rear Adm. Lent in his approach to aggressive tactics and leadership.”