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5th annual New Jersey ‘Reception of Champions’ Award Ceremony | Virtual | February 17th, 2021

“It is about people first. It really is. And without putting people first, you can’t get the mission in excellence, you can’t get the systems in excellence. So it is that commodity is our most valuable commodity that we have. And we have an opportunity today to recognize that commodity by putting people first, in front of this mission, in front of the systems that we are developing and deploying to make our world and our nation a safer place. Extraordinary times have created extraordinary people. It is these extraordinary people that lead by actions. And actions are making the right decision for the right reasons at the right time, under extreme pressure. That’s what people follow. That’s what makes greatness and we’re recognizing them today.” – Riki Ellison; February 17, 2021.

“We’ve had a great year, especially in this Aegis mission. I don’t think we go any further than down the river from me to  Norfolk, with the USS Stout, Baseline five DDG-55 and broke the record by seven days -215 days at sea continuously with the same crew  in the Second Fleet, in the Sixth Fleet, and in the Fifth Fleet, and at some extraordinary times with a deployment in the Persian Gulf during the rocket and missile crisis of Iran last January. But it’s the excellence that you all have been responsible for, for the SPY radar, and the Aegis Weapon System that operated flawlessly, with redundancy. That’s the reflection of what you all do, to be able to enable something like that at 215 days at sea. To be able to preserve peace, to create stability. And I applaud each of you for being part of that. That’s your team. That is huge.” – Riki Ellison

“I think the other thing that was extraordinary, was the FTM-44 test. History of our program, history of the Navy, history of Admiral Wayne Meyer for the Aegis Weapon System, to be able to shoot down an ICBM is remarkable. Remarkable. And what you’ve done with that, being able to use sensors and command and control, cross domains, cross services and bring it right into your weapon system. And to be able to enable an ability to defend your carrier fleets, to defend our territories, to defend our nation, from ICBMs. It’s a remarkable feat that happened in one of our most challenging times in the history of our country with COVID. You brought it together. You’re all part of that. That is huge. I’d be remiss not to talk about the LRDR that’s up in Clear, Alaska that’s ahead of schedule and under cost. That’s coming forward now. And in that necessary window to mitigate the risk and reduce the risk while our NGI gets in play. Those are just some of the remarkable things that have happened from this little community here, out of New Jersey.” – Riki Ellison

The 2021 New Jersey Champions Recipients:

2021 Aegis BMD Sailor Awardees

FCAC(SW) Richard Rohler (USAAMDS PL)
FCAC(SW) Michael Blankenship (USAAMDS PL)
LCDR Timothy Fitz-Gerald (USAAMDS PL)
LT Sidney Stone (USS PORTER DDG 78)
CDR Michael Dwan (USAAMDS RO)

2021 Champion Engineer Awardees

Kevin Burke (LMCO)
Donna Childs (LMCO)
Britt Manfredi Allen (LMCO)
Angela Palek (LMCO)
Michael Persons (LMCO)
Jacob Ruskin (LMCO)
Matthew Smith (LMCO)
Edward Teaw (LMCO)
Stephen Teeple (LMCO)
John Yosko (LMCO)
Ed Betz (AFMS)
Linda McIntyre (AFMS)
Matthew Pillion (IDT)

2021 Aegis Techrep Awardees

Mr. Steve Wilard
LCDR(Sel) Korrin Cook
FCACS(SW/EXW) Bryan Jackson
FCA2(SW) Barry Miller

“Today, we are bringing forward the first ever annual Michele Evans Award for your best engineer in the state of New Jersey. She was a remarkable woman, as we all know. And this reflection of her greatness in what she’s done, for the missile defense community is so important and so valued, to be able to have an award like this for her.” – Riki Ellison

The Inaugural 2021 Michele Evans Awardee

Andrew Hirsekorn (LMCO)

“This is an unbelievable honor to be the first recipient of this award, it means so much to me… I can definitely resonate with a lot of the messages that she put forth in the video. Work-life balance is very important to me. I have three small children, so I try to maintain that throughout my career, and I appreciate that she made that a part of her career as well. She talked about team and mentoring. That’s also very important: I -being a technical director- lead this large team of the 5-4 group but I can definitely resonate with her saying that you feel like you’re just one of the team… I really do feel real close with them and I agree with that: success comes with a great team and to lead a team you have to feel as though you’re part of the team.” – Andrew Hirsekorn; February 17, 2021.

“So congratulations to all the champions. I’m grateful for what you do for Aegis BMD and for our nation. And the warfighters, what you’re doing every day is so critically important. Again, you assure access for the Navy. And without you, we would be at a much higher risk. So your job, each and every day is important. And it opens the door for the Navy which enables the Joint Force. So, you’re the linchpin. You’re the linchpin, to get the job done. So I’m done fantastic work, I would just ask you to grow the culture. You see it, do it, pass it on, continue to deliver Aegis excellence and the Navy will be in good shape. Really, really good shape.” – Rear Admiral Tom Druggan; February 17, 2021.

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MDAA’s mission is to make the world safer by advocating for the development and deployment of missile defense systems to defend the United States, its armed forces and its allies against missile threats.

MDAA is the only organization in existence whose primary mission is to educate the American public about missile defense issues and to recruit, organize, and mobilize proponents to advocate for the critical need of missile defense. We are a non-partisan membership-based and membership-funded organization that does not advocate on behalf of any specific system, technology, architecture or entity.