NAWCWD thanks retirees, alumni

NAWCWD thanks retirees, alumniAbout 150 former employees attended the annual China Lake Retiree/Alumni Appreciation Day on Nov. 7 hosted by the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division at the Dr. William B. McLean Laboratory, China Lake. Scott O’Neil, NAWCWD executive director, welcomed the retirees and kicked off the event.

“Welcome back to China Lake,” said O’Neil. “You’ll see that Weapons Division is very engaged and our military value is very high. I personally want to say thank you. WD has a huge reputation today. That reputation is based on a solid foundation that you all built.”

Rear Adm. Paul Sohl, NAWCWD commander, began his remarks with a special message to all of O’Neil’s mentors who were in attendance.

“Scott and I pair up every day, and I draw as much information as I can out of his brain, which all came from you to begin with,” said Sohl.

He then talked about where the Navy is today and where it’s going. Senior defense leadership is refocusing on the Pacific, refocusing the Marine Corps on being expeditionary and reducing boots on the ground while maintaining a presence throughout the world, he said.

“The mission that we do because of you, is more important now than ever.”

Nearly 1,100 retirees are registered in the China Lake Alumni Directory. Of those, more than 60 have 40 or more years of service, more than 200 have 35 or more years of service and more than 300 have 30 or more years of service. Matt Boggs, an engineer in the NAWCWD Range Department, described some of the work under way on China Lake’s ranges.

James Bell, an engineer in the Systems Engineering Department, gave an update on unmanned systems activities.

Jeffrey Roquemore of the Weapons and Energetics Depart-ment, reported on some of the highlights going on in energetics work, and Dr. Michael Wright, a scientist in the NAWCWD Research Depar-tment, talked about the latest developments in the field of biofuels.

After the morning session, the group enjoyed chatting about old times at a luncheon held at the Grape Leaf in Ridgecrest.

Among the attendees were Sohl, with three former China Lake technical directors joining O’Neil for a rare convergence of WD’s top civilian leaders from several decades of China Lake’s nearly 70-year existence.

The event was coordinated by the NAWCWD Retired Activities Office, led by Eva Bien. The RAO provides assistance to retirees when they experience life events such as marriage, divorce, death and remarriage. It also maintains a database of China Lake military and civilian retirees.

Story First Published: 2012-11-14