Navy's 2017 Stockdale Award recipients announced

WASHINGTON - Plaques for the 2013 Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award are displayed during an award ceremony at the Pentagon.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class M.J. Gonzalvo

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Navy announced the two 2017 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award recipients Thursday in NAVADMIN 215/17.

Cmdr. Brian M. Drechsler, former commanding officer of Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) Team Five is the Pacific Fleet recipient and Cmdr. Eric M. Sager, former commanding officer of USS California (SSN 781) is the Fleet Forces recipient.

The two recipients were nominated by their peers, who were also eligible for the award, and chosen from among eight finalists to receive the award.

The Stockdale award was established in honor of Vice Adm. Stockdale whose distinguished naval career symbolized the highest standards of excellence in both personal conduct and leadership. It is presented annually to two commissioned officers on active duty in the grade of commander or below who are serving in command of a single ship, submarine, aviation squadron, Sea, Air, Land (SEAL) team, naval special warfare squadron, SEAL delivery vehicle team, special boat team, explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit, mobile diving and salvage unit, or Navy special clearance team and who serve as examples of excellence in leadership and conspicuous contribution to the improvement of leadership in the Navy.

Drechsler was nominated by the former commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare Group One, Cmdr. Ryan P. Shann, who wrote the nomination was in recognition of "his high standards, strong example, selfless service and personal commitment to his command members and their families."

Four commanding officers nominated Sager for the award. In his nomination letter, Cmdr. Kenneth R. Franklin, commanding officer of USS Colorado (SSN 788), stated Sager "sets an impeccable example for his peers and subordinates that is a model for all Naval officers to follow."

Drechsler and Sager are scheduled to receive their awards from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson at a ceremony later this fall.

Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale, for whom the Stockdale Award is named, articulated five roles for a leader -- moralist, jurist, teacher, steward and philosopher.

A Naval Academy graduate and pilot, Stockdale ejected from his A-4E Skyhawk over North Vietnam in September 1965 and was held prisoner and frequently tortured until February 1973. He received the Medal of Honor in 1976 and served as president of the Naval War College from October 1977 until August 1979.

He died in 2005 and is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He is survived by his three sons and eight grandchildren.

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