San Diego, California - Lt. Lindsey Smith and Lt j.g. Kiley Provenzano are assigned to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Gettysburg (CG 64), and have been roommates on the ship for the last 18 months.
With Gettysburg at sea for more than a year, since January 2013, Smith and Provenzano have also become great friends. However, they now have something else in common. Last week both were recognized with prestigious Navy awards.
Smith, who serves as Gettysburg's Training Officer, was recognized by the Navy League of the United States with the 2014 Admiral Winifred Q. Collins Award for Inspirational leadership. The award is given to just one female officer in the entire Navy for demonstrated leadership excellence. Previous recipients of the award include Admiral Michelle Howard, the Navy's Vice Chief of Naval Operations.
Joined by her father, Dan Smith, and brother, Brandon Smith, she received the award last week at the annual Navy League convention in San Diego, California. A 2010 graduate from the University of Oklahoma, Smith was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program at the university and commented, "I am truly honored and humbled to be given this award based on doing something I love to do on a day-to-day basis. I certainly could never have accomplished any of the extraordinary things we've done on the ship without the dedicated support of my amazing family and the great Gettysburg crew."
Provenzano, who serves as Gettysburg's Information Warfare Officer (IWO), was recognized with the 2013 Copernicus Award for Information Warfare Excellence. Provenzano was the only Sailor serving on a ship at sea in the entire Navy who was recognized with the Copernicus Award. She was joined by her mother, Melva Provenzano, and recognized with the award last week at a ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, during the 2014 Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) Cyber Symposium.
"It was an honor to receive this award from an organization known for breaking through the barriers of tomorrow's battlefields," said Provenzano, a 2012 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. "I had an incredible team to work with on this deployment. To share the award with my mother present was a great opportunity and a great experience."
Both of these superb junior officers flourished during Gettysburg's recent nine-month deployment to the Middle East. As a second tour division officer, Smith served as acting Operations Officer, a job typically reserved for a senior department head, and led more than 100 Sailors in the Operations Department during Gettysburg's execution of Air and Missile Defense Commander duties. Provenzano took the initiative and established the surface Navy's first Visual Information (VI) division, earning praise from across the strike group and fleet for her innovation and professionalism.
"Smith and Provenzano are shining examples of the superstar performers we have in America's surface Navy," said Capt. Brad Cooper, Gettysburg commanding officer.
"Their leadership, creativity and innovation was central to our ship's success during a long deployment," said Cooper. "They both performed their demanding and high-pressure duties with grace, class and professionalism. Their performance set the bar high and we no doubt saw Sailors throughout the entire ship 'raise their game' as a result of the standout examples in leadership and innovation from both of these officers."
Gettysburg is assigned to the Harry S. Truman Strike Group and recently returned from a nine-month deployment to the 5th and 6th Fleets Areas of Responsibility (AOR). Gettysburg was also recently named winner of the 2013 Battenberg Cup, an award given by the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces for the best ship, aircraft carrier or submarine in the Navy's Atlantic Fleet.