Retirement Ceremony for CAPT Robert Dews, Jr., USN – May 3, 2019

Retirement Ceremony for CAPT Robert Dews, Jr., USN – May 3, 2019

Greetings All,

On Friday, May 3, 2019, longtime NNOA member and DCNNOA member CAPT Robert A. Dews, Jr. USN held his Retirement Ceremony at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. CAPT Dews was born in Washington, DC and raised in Capitol Heights, Maryland. He attended Southern University A&M in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology Magna Cum Laude in 1988. He received his commission as an Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer after completing Aviation Officers Candidate School (ACOS) in Pensacola, Florida in May 1989. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from New Hampshire College and is a certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). CAPT Dews is also a graduate of the U. S. Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, KS and the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA and is a Joint Qualified Officer. CAPT Dews served 30 years in the Navy in a variety of sea and shore assignments. At sea, his assignments included: Maintenance Material Control Officer, USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69) and USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73).

Captain Dews previous shore assignments included: Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD), Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico where he served as the Aircraft Maintenance Division Officer and Quality Assurance Officer from September 1989 to August 1991. Commanding Officer of the Oklahoma City Military Entrance Processing Station from November 2001 to March 2004. Lead Analyst in the Office of the Deputy Assistant, Secretary of the Navy (Installations and Environment) in support of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure. In 2005 he served as Executive Officer and subsequently served as Commanding Officer of Navy Recruiting District Dallas from June 2007 to January 2009. From March 2009 through February 2012 he served as Officer in Charge of the Navy’s recruiting training center, the Navy Recruiting Orientation Unit at NAS Pensacola. From April 2012 to July 2013 he served as the Director of Personal and Family Readiness (OPNAV N135F). CAPT Dews later served as the Deputy Director for Diversity for the Navy Recruiting Command from August 2013 to February 2014 and as the Director of Operations (N3) of the Navy Recruiting Command from March 2014 to August 2015. In August 2015 CAPT Dews reported to his current and final Navy assignment as the Director of Safety for the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

CAPT Dews achieved a number of significant accomplishments during his career which included VFA-136 Maintenance Officer of the Year in 1993 and Officer of the Year Award for NAS Patuxent River in 1996. His military decorations include the following: Legion of Merit (two awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Meritorious Service Medal (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards) and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards) as well as various campaign and service awards.

The Guest Speaker for CAPT Dews Retirement Ceremony was Admiral Craig S. Faller, USN Commander, United States Southern Command. The Master of Ceremony was CAPT Donald Kennedy, USN. Dignitaries in attendance included RADM (Retired) Sinclair Harris, USN and Current President of the National Naval Officers Association (NNOA), RADM (Retired) Julius Caesar, USN, former NNOA National Presidents CAPT (Retired) Bernard Jackson, USN, CAPT (Retired) Anthony P. Barnes, USN and Colonel (Retired) Robert Clements, USMC. CAPT Dews was also presented with an award from the Annapolis Chapter of his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. CAPT Dews was joined in the ceremony by his wife, daughter, son, Mother, sister and numerous other family members and friends.

As in true Navy tradition the ceremony was “superb”! “Best Wishes” are forwarded to CAPT Dews and his family for 30 years of distinguished service to this nation and the United States Navy from all his friends and colleagues within the National Naval Officers Association!

NNOA President Visits PHS Senior Leadership/ICE

NNOA President Visits PHS Senior Leadership/ICE

“NNOA President, RADM Sinclair Harris, USN(Ret.) was honored to meet with the Surgeon General and Deputy Surgeon General recently to update them on NNOA initiatives and partnership opportunities.  As the best example of diversity and inclusion in any uniformed service, the Public Health Service and NNOA are a good fit. Thank you to Captain Esan Simon, USPHS currently serving with ICE for his help in pushing this relationship forward.”

Black History Month – 77 Years and Going Forward

Black History Month – 77 Years and Going Forward

Marine Corps Base Quantico

Black History Month – 77 Years and Going Forward

Am I Good Enough To Lead These Marines?

Col. Ahmed T. Williamson, Commanding Officer of Officer Candidates School (OCS), is a 0602 communication officer by trade and hails from a little town in Upper Marlborough, Maryland.

He was born into a family with a proud Naval history, leading him to aspire to attend the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) from his earliest memories. Living in Maryland with a Navy family and attending academy events, made it easy to see himself at that school and serving in the Navy. 

Williamson’s grandfather, also his absolute living hero, joined the Navy in 1951 at a time when opportunities for the African American community were uncommon. The Navy provided his grandfather with career opportunities as well as a chance to see the world. He served for 27 years, retiring as a master chief petty officer. 

There was another influencer for military service in Williamson’s family. His uncle served in the Navy for 32 years, retiring as an admiral. 

“From seaman to admiral, I gained lots of exposure to the Navy,” said Williamson.

Williamson entered the Naval Academy in 1990. He admits that he did not know the Marine Corps was part of the Navy or that serving in the Corps would be an option for him until he was attending USNA.

It was during his third year, while training with outstanding young Marine Corps non-commissioned officers at Camp Lejeune, when he asked himself, “Am I good enough to lead these Marines? Do I have the abilities to lead that kind of Marine in a challenging and austere environment?” 

Williamson decided to compete for an appointment to become a Marine and was accepted. After graduating USNA, he attended The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia, and was selected to be a communication and information systems officer, a good fit as he had a computer science degree.

He is very proud to be part of the Navy-Marine Corps Team – continuing the proud tradition of his grandfather and uncle, while establishing a new tradition in the Marine Corps, which is being followed by his 19 year-old son, a Marine lance corporal. 

Williamson enjoys watching his son learn and grow into a responsible young man and a great young Marine. He believes that his son was drawn to the Marine Corps after watching decades of military service by family members and being exposed to the professionalism of the Marines – an institution that pushes and challenges people.

Now, as the commander at OCS, Williamson’s in the role of identifying men and women of character and critical thinkers – folks that will lead our Marines for future generations.

* Pictured in the background – Frederick C. Branch became the first Black Marine Corps Officer in 1945. He was attending Temple University when he received a draft notice from the Army. After reporting in May 1943, he was chosen to be a Marine. He completed training in Montford Point, North Carolina. 

After applying for OCS in 1944 and being turned down due to his color, Branch continued to pursue his dream of leading Marines. It wasn’t easy. In a 1995 interview with Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Branch said he’d repeatedly heard, “You ain’t going to be no officer.” He refused to listen.

While serving in the Pacific, his conduct earned him the recommendation of his commanding officer to attend Officer Candidates School.

He was then sent to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, to receive his officer’s training in the Navy’s V-12 program, the only African-American candidate in a class of 250.

At Purdue, Branch made the dean’s list and was commissioned a second lieutenant on the Corps’ 170th birthday, Nov. 10, 1945. As World War II had already concluded, 2nd Lt. Branch went into the Marine Corps Reserve.

During the Korean War, Branch was re-activated, promoted to captain, commanding an antiaircraft training platoon at Camp Pendleton, California. Upon finding his career opportunities limited, he resigned from the Marine Corps in 1955.

Branch established the science department at Murrell Dobbins High School in Philadelphia utilizing the Physics degree he earned from Temple University in 1947 during his reserve service. He taught for over three decades until he retired in 1988. 

In 1997, Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, Quantico, Virginia, dedicated Branch Hall in recognition of Frederick Branch’s groundbreaking role in integrating the Corps.

In 2006, the Marine Corps Recruiting Command created the Frederick C. Branch Leadership Scholarship. It is a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) scholarship for students who are currently attending or have received letters of acceptance to one of 17 historically black colleges and universities that have NROTC programs. Graduates are commissioned as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps.

Graphic Illustration by Marine Sgt. Meghan Millott @meghanitcrazy
Story by Frances Seybold

Historical information provided by the Unites States Marine Corps and Ned Forney, author.