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New Jersey Luncheon of Champions in Camden, New Jersey on December 1, 2021 (Photo Credits: Jon Rambeau)

“It’s just great to be here and have all of you here. We haven’t been here in two years and those are challenging years that we’ve done together, that the world’s done together. It’s resilience that brings you together. So this is awesome. This is our sixth time. We’ve awarded a hundred champions from New Jersey from this culture that we have here that are winning.” -Riki Ellison​, December 1, 2021, Camden, New Jersey

On Wednesday, December 1, in Camden, New Jersey, MDAA held its 6th New Jersey Luncheon of Champions to recognize champions in our nation’s missile defense.

“We have evolved over time. We have evolved with the Navy. We have evolved with our contracting brother and sister, and we’ve fought the fight and pushed it forward. Although TECHREP’s mission still reflects its original charter, we have continued that evolution. In 2009, the most complex combat system ever conceived, the Integrated Air Missile Defense System, affectionately called baseline nine now, which is proliferated throughout the fleet, began development and initial testing. Now think back, that’s 2000 and we’re in 2021. Today, the 14,000 square feet of the combat system engineering development side or CSEDS, or as we actually refer to it as the cruiser in the cornfield, not to be confused with the battle group on the beach down in Wallops Island, but we are the cruiser in the cornfield, has become the nexus for the US Navy and Missile Defense Agency and our allied partners to not only develop tests and certify, but also to train and most importantly, to deploy the most advanced surface ship combat systems in the world.” -CAPT Phil Mlynarski, December 1, 2021, Camden, New Jersey 

The following women and men were awarded for their excellence in missile defense:

Aegis BMD Sailors for awards:

  • CO FCA1(SW) Nathan M. Adams
  • FCAC(SW) David Gentry
  • ICO OS1 Derek Mackley

Champion Engineer Awardees:

  • Ms. Allison Boyd
  • Mr. Ravi Patel
  • Mr. Andre Maul
  • Mr. Joe Gursky
  • Mr. Dan Holmes
  • Mr. Michael Venuti
  • Ms. Rosemarie White
  • Mr. Ken Babicki
  • Mr. Mark Hauser
  • Mr. Stu Ostapovich
  • Ms. Diane Conley
  • Mr. Don Casker
  • Mr. Gary Toth (IDT)
  • Ms. Galena Teresh (ASRC FMS)
  • Mr. Tim Comparri (ASRC FMS)

Aegis TechRep Awardees:

  • Ms. Hetal Patel
  • Mr. Nick Amoroso
  • STG1 Nickolas Gonzalez
  • OS1 Derek Piotrowsk

Michele Evans Award for Best Engineer :

  • Mr. Michael Kasmer

“It is about the people. It is the people that are the decision makers. It’s the people that are maintainers and operators. And it’s the people that make sure that we can use this fabulous system called Aegis that has been developed. And if you go back in time, I think that each and every one of us, both on the engineering side and the technical side, but on the operator maintainer side, the folks that started Aegis would be proud. You have made them proud. We started with a threat then, and we’ve made sure that in the Aegis community, we always start with the threat and we have an accurate assessment of our capabilities, but also our limitations and gaps.” -RDML Tom Druggan, December 1, 2021, Camden, New Jersey

“Your relevance in making the world a better place and our nation, it hasn’t been as important as it is today as you shape how we’re going to be able to continue our status quo and compete and win against those that want to challenge that. It is one team. It is one fight and it’s trust with each of us. And it is excellence begetting excellence. You are excellence and you have a responsibility to pass that excellence to your team wherever they are.” -Riki Ellison​, December 1, 2021, Camden, New Jersey

Mission Statement

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.