By LT Darnell “Gov” Harris (VP SDNNOA 2018-2019)
LTJG Asante McCalla graduated from Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia and had strong ties to the community. He went on to attend Morehouse college on a full military officer scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in 2016 with a degree in sociology. In May 2018, he was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade and was close to completing his Surface Warfare Officer designation.
On Aug. 19 while underway onboard the USS LAKE ERIE (CG-70), LTJG McCalla failed to report for duty and could not be located on the ship. LAKE ERIE went into man-overboard procedures and seven U.S. Navy ships, along with aircraft from the Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, contributed to the search of more than 16,550 square nautical miles of open water for four days. The aircraft flew more than 140 sorties, with LAKE ERIE serving as the on-scene commander and U.S. Coast Guard District 11 serving as mission commander.
I had the distinct privilege of meeting Asante roughly three years ago at a San Diego Chapter NNOA general body meeting and we immediately connected. Asante being a recent graduate of Morehouse possessed confidence and maturity unmatched by many Junior Officers. Over time we became extremely close, he would come over to my home to spend time with my family and I during weekends & holidays when he was unable to go home to be with his own family. Asante served as Vice President for the San Diego Chapter of NNOA 2017-2018 and was deeply committed and highly effective in supporting his fellow Officers, area youth and the community at large. Moreover, Asante enthusiastically volunteered to serve as lead planner for numerous NNOA sponsored events and was instrumental to the successful Junior Officer Speed Mentoring event held in May 2018 held onboard Naval Base San Diego. This event afforded young Naval Officers the rare opportunity to engage with Senior Officers in an informal setting, facilitating a meaningful exchange of indispensable career guidance. Asante understood that professional development and mentorship was vital to the success of a Junior Officer; and although a Junior Officer himself, he took the care and feeding of others as his own personal endeavor. Asante’s unyielding concern for everyone, regardless of rank, gender or race, truly allowed him to stand out as a model Naval Officer and integral part of the National Naval Officers Association. On 29. May I had the honor of pinning Asante to LTJG onboard LAKE ERIE – and it is a memory I shall never forget.Make no mistake, Asante made a positive and everlasting impact on his Shipmates and his Navy. Asante’s passion, infectious smile and outgoing personality will never be forgotten.
Missing my friend, my shipmate and my little brother . . .I will never forget him!
LT Darnell “Gov” Harris
Vice President SDNNOA 2018-2019
Congratulations Commander Rod Rojas, USCG for being selected for O-6.
RDML Cedric Pringle congratulating the Navy’s newly pinned Surface Warfare Officer LTJG Johnathon Hollis (USS CHAMPION – MCM 4).
By Betsy Hnath
Old Dominion University has named Elaine Pearson associate vice president for academic affairs, effective June 25.
Austin Agho, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in a letter to the campus community: “She brings to ODU over 30 years of extensive experience and knowledge of higher education, finance and
administration, and a broad framework of leading academic administration operations at public regional comprehensive and doctoral research universities.”
Pearson is executive director for academic and student affairs at the University of Houston-Downtown, where she is responsible for the division’s annual budget, administrative procedures and compliance. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member.
Noting Old Dominion’s “military-friendly campus community,” Agho also highlighted Pearson’s service record.
“She joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in the enlisted rank and retired as Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) after 22 years of dedicated service,” Agho said. “During her military career, LCDR Pearson participated in several operational exercises in support of Operation Noble Eagle for which she was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal (2nd Star) and the Army Achievement Medal.”
Pearson earned her bachelor’s degree in information systems from the University of Houston. She also holds a master’s degree in educational technology and an M.B.A.
She is a board member of Texas Women in Higher Education and a life member of the National Naval Officers Association.
Pearson will replace Jim Duffy, whom Agho thanked for his “many years of effective management and leadership in this position” and his “exceptional years of service” to the University.
Duffy will retire in July but will work closely with Pearson during her transition into the new fiscal year.
Agho also thanked the search committee for the “energy and time they put into the process, and for identifying such a strong candidate.”