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Porter Sailor Honored as Navy Missile Defender of the Year

January 15, 2019 at 8:11 AM UTC
Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center

Lt. j.g. McKenzie Anderson, USS Porter (DDG 78) training officer, was honored as the Navy's Missile Defender of the Year (MDOY) at the annual Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) awards banquet held in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 11. The annual MDAA-sponsored event honors the best missile defense Soldier, Sailor, Airman and National Guard member for their outstanding efforts.


Anderson was recognized along with Army Chief Warrant Officer Lucas Watterson, Air Force Capt. Rex Villa, and Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Jacob Moore – recipients of the same honor within their respective branches of service.

When Anderson was notified of his selection he said, “It’s an honor to be selected as the 2018 Navy Missile Defender of the Year. It’s important to remember that [Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD)] is fundamentally a team effort, and I could not have asked for a better team than was onboard USS Porter. The men and women manning Porter’s combat systems are dedicated to meet mission requirements and execute BMD tasking at any time.”

Vice Adm. Dixon Smith, deputy Chief of Naval Operations for fleet readiness and logistics, and Riki Ellison, Chairman and Founder of MDAA presented the Navy MDOY award to Cmdr. John Tobin, Porter’s former commanding officer, who accepted the award on behalf of Anderson because of Porter operational commitments.

“[Anderson] is not here, he is standing the watch,” Smith said as he highlighted Anderson’s key role in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea during the past two years. “Anderson became one of the Ballistic Missile Defense watchstanders when Porter along with [USS] Ross launched 56 Tomahawk missiles in 2017. As a Lt. j.g., Anderson trained all six tactical action officers on Porter, and led them through 32 training missions in the area of responsibility. I haven’t met [Anderson] but I want him working for me.”

Through Anderson’s relentless drive to maintain critical manning and readiness aboard Porter in 2018, he ensured maximum operational readiness during two FDNF-Europe BMD patrols. Anderson’s critical feedback after training scenarios produced positive changes to fleet BMD training, including improved stationing geometry for Sixth Fleet BMD missions.

“The Sixth Fleet area of operations is dynamic and is at the center of the renewed Great Power Competition” said Anderson. “Mission accomplishment would not be possible without the dedication and amazing team of Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Rota, I am proud to serve with them.”

Nominees are active duty or reserve officers and enlisted personnel from each branch of service who work within the missile defense and are nominated by their peers and commanding officers. Naval Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center’s (SMWDC) Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) Division reviews Navy nomination packages and selects the recipient of the award each year. Information about the award nomination details and deadlines for submission are distributed annually by naval message.

Accepting the award on behalf of Anderson, Tobin said, “As commanding officer we have autonomy to choose our people, and Anderson is the guy you want on your team. I am privileged to be his commanding officer, and privileged to nominate him.”

SMWDC is a subordinate command of Commander U.S. Naval Surface Forces, and is headquartered at Naval Base San Diego with four divisions in Virginia and California focused on IAMD, Anti-Submarine Warfare/Surface Warfare, Amphibious Warfare, and Mine Warfare.

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