NAS LEMOORE – Nominees for the Don Barber award were recognized and celebrated prior to the announcement of the winner at the annual awards dinner hosted aboard NAS Lemoore, Tuesday evening.
The Don Barber award recognizes superior leadership as embodied in the career of the late Master Chief Donald E. Barber. It was first presented in 2001 to an outstanding NAS Lemoore chief petty officer for inspirational leadership, innovative contributions, a “lead-from-the-front” mindset and on-the-job adaptiveness. It is annually presented by the Association of Naval Aviation, Greater Kings County Navy League and Commander, Strike Fighter Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CSFWP).
Master Chief Petty Officer Donald E. Barber was assigned to VA-122 from March 1965 through October 1968. After more than 33 years of honorable military service, where he was known for his consummate professionalism, he retired in 1980. During his time in the Navy, his awards included the Navy Commendation medal, Navy Achievement medal, Good Conduct medal (6), National Defense Service medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary medal, Vietnam Service medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
The Donald E. Barber award is given every year to eligible candidates who best personify the positive attributes of leadership associated with Barber. Candidates for the award must be active duty, senior enlisted personnel and assigned to a command within CSFWP or NAS Lemoore. A panel chaired by the CSFWP maintenance master chief and command master chief and comprised of maintenance master chiefs and command master chiefs from the NAS Lemoore flight line selects the winner.
“My dad retired out of Miramar before moving back up to NAS Lemoore to work at with ISI and when he finally retired in 1998, so our history with Lemoore goes back quite a while. When the award committee was going to start this award, my dad was unanimously selected to have the award named after him,” said Kelly Virden, Don Barber’s daughter. “This award originated between 1999 and 2000, right after my dad passed in June of 1999 and I’m sure he’s proud to know that his legacy and dedication to the Naval Aviation community continues through this award. He would always say, ‘A job worth doing is worth doing right.’ I believe that is at the heart of this award.”
This year’s winner, AECS (AW) Christopher J. Schornik from Strike Fighter Squadron 113 (VFA-113) was recognized for his superb leadership, innovative contributions and flexibility coupled with his ability to inspire maximum performance from his Sailors, displaying mastery in the ability to stay ahead of fast-paced operations and effectively handle any matter. He was unable to attend the dinner as his squadron is currently deployed with Carrier Air Wing Seventeen (CVW-17) aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).
“We had already established awards for maintenance officers and line officers, but we wanted to present an award that recognized excellence in leadership at the deckplate level,” said Len Giuliani, president of the San Joaquin Valley Squadron Association of Naval Aviation. “Like all the awards we give, they are leadership tools. They motivate and inspire sailors while at the same time recognizing top performers among their peers. It is fitting that an award for leadership be given in Don Barber’s honor.”
This year is the 17th presentation of the Don Barber award here at NAS Lemoore. For more information about the Association of Naval Aviation, visit www.anahq.org.