Ahead of the U.S. Naval War College’s (USNWC) June graduation, the Student Awards Ceremony was held on June 15 in the College’s Spruance Auditorium. On behalf of the Naval War College Foundation (NWCF) Board of Trustees and staff, our Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director of Development, Victor Stanescu, presented awards to the distinguished group of students. Through the foresight and generosity of our donors and friends, the Foundation provided awards to 25 exceptional students. Congratulations to these individuals and to all of the graduates!
Diane M. Disney Writing Award
This award, generously funded by NWCF Trustee Emerita Diane M. Disney, Ph.D., awards students who work diligently to improve their writing skills throughout the academic year. This year, four students were recognized:
Maj David Christian Adamic, USA, College of Naval Command and Staff (CNCS)
Lieutenant Commander Duminda Dayananda, Sri Lanka Navy, Naval Staff College (CSC)
LTC Denise Renee Little, USA, College of Naval Warfare (CNW)
Maj Jacob Settle, USA, CNCS, March 2023
Drs. Daniel and Susan Thys Academic Prize
The Thys Academic Prize is awarded to the U.S. Navy student with the highest grade point average at the completion of the academic year. For the 2022-2023 academic year, Cmdr Charles Gough, JAGC, from the CNW received the award.
Captain James T. Larkin, U.S. Marine Corps, Awards for Academic Excellence by a U.S. Marine Corps Officer
This award is presented to the U.S. Marine Corps student with the highest grade point average at the completion of the academic year. The award is named in honor of the late Captain James T. Larkin, a NWCF Trustee Emeriti. Maj Jonathan Walaski from the CNCS was this year’s recipient.
Edward H. Bragg Award for Academic Excellence by a U.S. Coast Guard Officer
This award is supported through an endowed fund created in memory of Mr. Bragg by his many friends and family to honor his commitment to the NWCF, the U.S. Coast Guard, and his nation. It is awarded to the U.S. Coast Guard student with the highest grade point average at the completion of the academic year. For 2022-2023, the award was presented to LCDR Kevin H. Murphy from the CNCS.
Vice Admiral John T. Hayward Award for Outstanding Performance in Online Distance Education
This award was presented to CAPT William B. Nguyen, USN, a November 2022 graduate.
Matthew C. Perry Award for International Research
This award was presented to Commander Jurgen Van Daele, Belgian Navy, from the Naval Command College (NCC), for his essay, “Securing Europe’s Green Energy Transition.”
General George C. Kenney Award for Writing on the Topic of Airpower
Major Catherine W. Axel, U.S. Air Force, from the CNCS received this award for her essay, “Enhancing Air Base Resiliency in the First Island Chain: Bolstering Active and Passive Defenses while Increasing Base Footprint in Competition.”
The Honorable Juliette C. McLennan Essay Prize for Women, Peace, and Security
This award is generously supported by NWCF Trustee Juliette C. McLennan, who served as Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women under President George H.W. Bush. LTC Alyssa Y. Astphan, ARNG, from the CNW received the award for her essay, “More Effective Coercive Diplomacy: A Gendered Approach.”
Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy Counterterrorism Prize
This award is named in memory of Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, a U.S. Navy SEAL officer who received the U.S. military’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. Lt. Murphy received the honor for his heroic actions on June 28, 2005, in Afghanistan, where he gave his life in defense of our great Nation. The Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy Counterterrorism Prize was awarded this year to Lieutenant Commander Kofi Duodu, Ghana Navy, from the NSC for his essay, “Securing West Africa: The Case for a Single Multinational Joint Task Force to Curb Terrorism and Piracy.”
John J. D’Luhy Prize to Honor Excellence in Strategic Analysis and Thought
This prize is awarded to a resident student who writes an outstanding essay on a recurring strategic question for the final examination in the Strategy and Policy course. This prize was awarded to George Patterson Manson III, U.S. Government, CNW, for his essay, “A Fort’s a Fool to Fight a Ship: Land Powers vs. Sea Powers in Long Term Competitions.”
Vice Admiral James H. Doyle, Jr., Military Operations and International Law Prize
This prize, supported through the generosity of the Daley Family Fund and the Oceans Law and Policy Endowment, recognizes the best essays on the role of international law in military operations during peacetime or armed conflict. The award was presented to an international and U.S. student, The international student who received this award was Lieutenant Colonel Shenghao Chua, Republic of Singapore Navy, NSC, for his essay “Lawfare for the Lawful: Stemming the Tide of Lawfare in the South China Sea.” United States student LCDR Emily Elizabeth Geddes, USN, received the award for her essay, “A Constitution for the Oceans: How Would U.S. Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Affect U.S. National Interests?”
Captain Walter B. Woodson, Jr., Academic Memorial Prize
The prize is awarded each year to a NSC student for the best paper on a topic related to force planning or strategic issues of maritime interest. This year, Lieutenant Colonel Shenghao Chua, Republic of Singapore Navy, receive the award for his essay, “Which Was More Harmful to the American Conduct of the War in Korea: Military Leaders’ Failure to Comprehend the Political Objective or Civilian Leaders’ Failure to Comprehend What Can and Cannot Be Achieved by Force?”
Naval War College Foundation Award
This award, generously funded by the NWCF Board of Trustees, is presented each year to the student who writes the best essay on the subjects of maritime strategy or the operational level of warfare. Captain Pradeep Singh Sethi, Indian Navy, from the NCC, was the recipient of this award for his essay, “The U.S. Needs a Comprehensive Deep Ocean Competition Strategy.”
Mr. B. Franklin Reinauer II Defense Economics Prize
This prize, named in memory of B. Franklin Reinauer II, is presented to the student who has written the best paper on an aspect of the impact of the defense budget on the economy. LCDR Jonathan Calhoun, USN, from the College of Distance Education (CDE), received this prize for his essay, “Investing in America’s Defense: Using Innovative Financial Tools to Build and Strengthen the Industrial Base.”
J. William Middendorf II Award for Student Research
This award is named for the former Secretary of the Navy, diplomat, and NWCF Trustee Emeritus, and is presented to the best individual or group research project on strategic or tactical concepts, logistics, or readiness. This year’s recipient was LCDR Matthew Staggs Galamison, USN, a March graduate from the CSNC, for his essay, “The Failures of the Russian Aerospace Force in Ukraine.”
Captain Jerome E. Levy Economic Geography and World Order Prize
This prize recognizes the best research product that fundamentally addresses and proposes potential solutions in the disciplines of economic geography and national or international security. It was awarded to MAJ William J. DeStasio, USA, from the CNCS for his essay, “Chinese Presence in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Strategic Threat?”
Robert E. Batemans’ International Prize Essay Award
This award is funded by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Bateman and given to a NCC student for submitting the best essay on a topic relating to force planning or strategic issues of maritime interest. Captain Pradeep Singh Sethi, Indian Navy, was honored for his essay, “Forming a Combined Maritime Task Force under the Quad in the Indo-Pacific Region.”
Zimmerman-Gray Essay Award
This prize is provided through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Gilson Gray. The award is named for their fathers, Commander Donald Zimmerman, United States Navy, and Commander Gilson B. Gray, Jr., United States Navy. Both men were career naval aviators who saw combat duty during World War II. This year’s recipient was Lieutenant Colonel Shenghao Chua, Republic of Singapore Navy, from the NSC for his essay, “Minilateralism: A Way toward a Peaceful Balance of Power in the Indo-Pacific.”
Admiral Richard G. Colbert Memorial Prize
The NWCF presents this award to a student for the best essay addressing strategic, military, or political aspects of the United States Navy’s roles or missions. CDR Charles Gough, JAGC, from the CNW was awarded for his essay, “Why the U.S. Needs to Lead in Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems Development.”
Asia-Pacific Studies Prize
The Asia-Pacific Studies Prize for the best paper related to the region comprising the maritime and continental territory from South and Central Asia to the Pacific Rim was awarded to Brian M. Sperlongano, Naval Sea Systems Command, from the CNCS, for his essay, “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick: Preventing US-China Conflict Over Taiwan.”
RADM Joseph C. Strasser International Leadership Prize
This prize was presented to two deserving students in 2023; Commander Wiremu Leef, Royal New Zealand Navy, from the NCC, and Lieutenant Commander Kofi Duodu, Ghana Navy, from the NSC.
McGinnis Family Award for Outstanding Performance in Nonresident Seminar Education
This award was presented at the USNWC graduation by NWCF Chairman of the Board, Daniel E. Holland III, to Lt Timothy J. Cadigan III, USN, of the CDE. Professor Ronald J. Oard accepted the award on Lt Cadigan’s behalf.
For more pictures from the awards ceremony, please visit the U.S. Naval War College’s Flickr page.