Please submit your announcement requests no later than 30 days prior to the event. Announcements from and about financial members of the NNOA are given priority.

Lone Sailor Award from the United States Navy Memorial

The official ceremony will be virtual and can be viewed by registering at

Congratulations to Rear Admiral and Chaplain of the US Senate, Barry Black on being recently awarded the Lone Sailor Award from the United States Navy Memorial.  The award was presented by CNO Vern Clark. Well done Admiral for continuing to have a life of impact and consequence.

Naval Horizons Essay Contest

The Naval STEM team wanted to share a reminder that there are still two weeks for high school students to participate in the Naval Horizons student essay contest:

Naval Horizons is a high school essay contest that introduces students to cutting-edge STEM topics that impact the Department of the Navy (DON). The students will learn about Naval STEM challenges and DON scientists and engineers via an educational video series. They will then write an essay on how the videos inspired them for a chance to win a cash prize. The contest challenges students to picture themselves in a STEM career and design the Navy and Marine Corps of the future.  The application period is open through 30 July 2021.

Marine Corp University WPS Writing Awards

NNOA sponsored the Marine Corps University Writing Awards Series

Congratulations to the winners:

First place = “Women, Peace & Security” by Maj Villanueva (CSC)

Second place = “Assessing Physical and Combat Readiness: Abandon the Marine Corps Body Composition Program” by Capt Ehrhardt (EWS)

Third place = “Modern Solutions to Military Childcare Shortfalls and Childcare Related Readiness and Retention Issues” by Maj Bartucco (CSC)


Rear Admiral Cedric Pringle, USN Retirement Ceremony

The President of the National Defense University, Lieutenant General Michael T. Plehn, USAF, invites you to attend the National War College Change of Responsibility Command Ceremony and Retirement of Rear Admiral Cedric Pringle, USN, on Friday, July 30th at 10 am. This will be a live ceremony with options for in person and virtual participation.

To view your invitation and RSVP, please click the link below.

Please RSVP by July 13th and indicate if you will attend in person or virtually.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact,

Katia Y. Harris
Executive Assistant to the Commandant
National War College
300 D Street, Roosevelt Hall (Bldg 61)
Fort Lesley J. McNair
Washington, DC 20319-5078
Office: (202) 685-4342

“When they go low, we go high.” – July 2021

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”– Romans 12:21 NIV

Paul is sharing these words of wisdom with the Romans in dealing with people. He reminds them earlier in the chapter of the importance of not taking revenge as vengeance belongs to God and directs them to treat others with kindness. The natural expectation of someone who has mistreated people is to receive the same treatment. However, it is an unexpected human response by being kind as it causes them to reflect on their actions. It begins to make them wonder why they did not receive the same evil they dished out.

Paul continues to tell them to love, feed, and meet the needs of the one who has mistreated them. He concludes the message by telling them do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. To not take revenge in one’s hand can be a difficult pill to swallow.  However, the most significant testimony can come out of not allowing others to change who you are as a person. Having the ability to maintain one’s character and integrity in a difficult situation is the best testament to self-control and growth.

One cannot control the actions of others, but one can control theirs. Jesus provided the perfect example on the cross when he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Often this is the case with those we encounter who are unkind. The actions may come out of a place of bitterness and personal hurt. There is a saying that hurt people, hurt people. We have to look beyond the action and look at the heart. The same way God does for us. None of us are perfect, and we all have our hurts and disappointments. Therefore, it is imperative to self-reflect and to provide the love, kindness, mercy, and grace we would want to receive. In the words of the remarkable Mrs. Michelle Obama, “when they go low, we go high.” We must find a way to show others the love they deserve despite themselves because, with God, all things are possible.

Blessings, Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

Congratulations to LCDR Takana Jefferson

People don’t get promoted for doing their jobs really well. They get promoted by demonstrating their potential to do more. ~Tara Jaye Frank

NNOA Congratulates Chaplain Takana Jefferson on her promotion to the rank of Commander.

You are cordially invited to a Promotion Ceremony in honor of Lieutenant Takana L. Jefferson Chaplains Corps, United States Navy on Thursday, the first day of July at ten o’clock in the morning Humphreys Building (197) Auditorium Washington Navy Yard, District of Columbia.

RADM Sinclair Harris, USN (Ret.) is the guest speaker for this event.

You may attend in person or virtually via DISA Streaming Link.

Promotions will come and go, but your hard work will always shine and show. ~Anonymous

Adm. Linda Fagan Sworn In as USCG Vice Commandant, Becoming First Female Four-Star Admiral in Coast Guard History

Adm. Fagan was nominated to the position by President Biden back in April. She previously served as the commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area, a role she has held since June 2018, responsible for overseeing all Coast Guard operations in the Pacific, covering more than 74 million square miles of ocean from the U.S. Western States to Asia and from the Arctic to Antarctica. Fagan is the Coast Guard’s first-ever Gold Ancient Trident, as the officer with the longest service record in the Marine Safety Field.

Read more…

Farewell CDR Smith, USN (Ret.)

It is with great sadness that I let our NNOA Family know of the passing of Commander Merle Smith, the first African American to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy.  More will be shared and I know your prayers and thoughts are welcomed by his family.

It is with great sadness that I inform you that CDR Merle James Smith, USCG (retired), passed away on June 16th, 2021 in New London, CT.  As many of you know, CDR Smith is the namesake of the Eclipse Legacy Coalitions “Merle J. Smith Eclipse Legacy Endowment,” which was established in 2017.  Merle J. Smith was the second African American to receive an appointment to the Academy and the first to graduate in June of 1966.  He was characterized as an excellent CGA Cadet, excelling with hard work in the classroom, in the barracks and on the football field.  CDR Smith Served as the Commanding Officer of a Patrol Boat during the Vietnam War and achieved his Juris Doctor, becoming a licensed attorney in 1974, all before being assigned to the Coast Guard Academy law faculty in 1975.  It was then that LT Smith’s impact at CGA would become legendary as a teacher, mentor and coach.  He served as the Class Advisor for the class of 1977, as an assistant football coach under the great Otto Graham and was an inspirational example for many of the young cadets to follow.  Including the class of 1978’s VADM Manson Brown, USCG (ret), who would tout “LT Smith modeled for us what we could become in the Coast Guard.  As such, he added to our motivation to stay and do the hard work necessary to thrive at the Academy.”

There is so much more to learn and remember about CDR Merle J. Smith, and the Eclipse Legacy Coalition will provide more details as time goes. However, for a couple of great reads on CDR Smith’s legacy please read:

The Long Blue Line: Merle Smith – the first African American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy « Coast Guard COAST GUARD COMPASS (


The Day – Coast Guard Academy renames officers club after first black graduate, retired Cmdr. Merle Smith – News from southeastern Connecticut


Let us know your news and we’ll announce it. In-Memoriam, retirements, promotions, chapter events…





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