The Class of 1966 established two important awards designed to recognize and honor the superior leadership of a junior officer and a petty officer, on a ship with our class numbers. The awards provided an opportunity to maintain a tangible class tie to the fleet as classmates attrited.
- USS HUÉ CITY (CG 66) established in June 1992 when classmate, Tom Eubanks, was Commanding Officer. See excerpt below of a 2001 letter from Tom to Scott Redd describing the impetus for the awards.
- USS GONZALEZ (DDG 66) established in 1996 to recognize heroism. Commissioned in 1996, USS Gonzalez was named for Sgt. Alfredo “Freddy” Gonzalez, USMC, the only military person awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for action during the battle of Hue in Vietnam. He was killed in action on February 4, 1968. The US Naval Institute published an interesting graphical article regarding his heroism during the battle and in 2008, the Virginian Pilot published an article on the history of Gonzalez and graciously granted us permission to post the article on our website.
The idea of the awards was born the day I knew I was going to HUÉ CITY. I talked it up with classmates and reasoned that Vietnam was our war, and what better way to maintain a legacy for our class than to recognize leadership on a ship with our class numbers, and on the first and only ship named for a battle in Vietnam. I also reasoned that recognizing the leadership of a junior officer (below department head) and a petty officer (it has traditionally been the ship’s Sailor of the Year) served to recognize those individuals who were the future of the Naval Service. This provided us with an opportunity to maintain a tangible class tie to the fleet as we attrited from active service. Recognizing superior leadership in our young officers and petty officers was a no-brainer. The idea of providing a check with the award came from my XO tour on Arthur W. Radford. Radford’s Sailor of the Quarter was sponsored by the Washington Chapter of the Navy League, and the check that they provided to our SOQ was used to great effect in Radford’s recognition program.
The Executive Committee approved the HUÉ CITY awards in 1992, not long after our 25th Reunion – and after about 150 of our classmates had embarked in HUÉ CITY for the transit from Norfolk to Annapolis on the Thursday preceding Homecoming Weekend. lt was not a hard sell.
The first award was actually presented in early 1993 for the 1992 calendar year – while I was still in command, and just before we deployed to the Med. At the same time, the class presented two exceptionally nice walnut award boards to the ship, that Chuck Grutzius developed. Each board contained both ’66 and HUÉ CITY brass crests, as well as sufficient brass plates to last the life of the ship.
There was also a plate on each that stated the purpose of the awards – for superior leadership. One board went to the wardroom and one to the mess decks.
USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) was named by SECNAV just before Hue City commissioned, and Mrs. Gonzalez attended the 1991 HUÉ CITY commissioning. You may recall Mike Boorda telling of Sgt. Gonzalez heroism at the Battle of HUÉ CITY, and then recognizing his mother’s presence at the ceremony. The coincidence of having the same hull number as HUÉ CITY, and Sgt. Gonzalez’s posthumously earning the Medal of Honor at the Battle of HUÉ CITY, prompted me to propose including Gonzalez in the leadership award program. The Gonzalez PCO was enthusiastic about the relationship, and in October 1996 I attended Gonzalez’s commissioning in lngleside and presented the award boards to the ship on behalf of the class, thus formally establishing our relationship and the awards. The award boards were identical to those presented to HUÉ CITY.
Our relationships with both ships have been exceptionally good, and the awards have been presented annually on each since their inception. Chuck Grutzius, Clay Spike and Mike Baird have been absolutely critical to the continuity over the years, including tracking down and arranging presenters announcing the event to classmates in the local area, coordinating the letters, etc.
NOTE: Award recipients receive an official letter, an award certificate and a check for $200.
- 2021: GM2 (SW) Johnny J. Hoyos, USN
- 2020: No award during COVID-19
- 2018: HT1 Edward O. Andrew, USN and LTJG Naomi M. Sheehan, USN
- 2017: EM2 Kay C. Sang, USN and ltJG Nicolas G. Vandiver, USN
- 2016: OS2 Jeremy E. Ables, USN and LT Jestin M. Chapman, USN
- 2015: STG1 (SW) Marcus K. Butler, USN and LTJG Amelia K. Stucker, USN
- 2014: SH1 (SW) Maria A. Torresquevara, USN; ENS Courtney A. Briney, USN and ENS Joshua A. Fox, SC, USN
- 2013: FC1 (SW) Michael S. Blankenship, USN and LT Scott D. Junkins, USN
- 2012: DC2 (SW) Bianca Sue Love, USN and LTJG Anastasia S. Abid, USN
- 2011: LS1 Marcus L. Johnson, USN and ENS Corey J. Schulz, USN
- 2010: IT1 (SW) Ciani V. Baker and LT Edward P. Curley, USN
- 2009: GSM1 (SW) Eli Miranda, USN and LTJG Amanda Beieri, USN
- 2008: EN1 (SW) Ronricus S. Brantley, USN and LtJG Craig Dziewiatkowski, SC, USN
- 2007: STG1 (SW) Robert W. Ingerson, USN and ENS Ryan P. Kelly, USN
- 2006: ET1 (SW) Garcia P. Gaither, USN and ENS James R. Lamz, USNR
- 2005: No Award due to Deployment
- 2004: OS1 (SW) William W. Russell, USN and ENS Christopher J. Morton, USNR
- 2003: MR1 (SW) Chris A. Gates, USN and LTJG Christopher A. Miller, USNR
- 2002: DK1 (SW) Antoio M. Inocencio, USN and LT Ronald A. Hojnowski, USN
- 2001: YN1 (SW) Hercules Martin III, USN and ENS Darrell Christensen, USN
- 2000: SK1 (SW) Mickey L. McDonald, USN and ENS Kathryn N. Storm, USNR
- 1999: EW1 (SW) Gregory A. Smith, USN and LTJG Kenneth D. Anderson, USN
- 1998: ET1 (Sw) Steven B. Scrambling, USN and LT William K. Shafley, III, USN
- 1997: SK1 (SW) David Castro, USN and LTJG John D. Stoner, USN
- 1996: GSM1 David W. Luley, USN and ENS Jason L. Rhoads, USNR
- 1995: OS1 Mark P. Ingwersen, USN and LT C. Andrew McCarney, USN
- 1994: STS M. C. Corbett, USN and ENS C. T. Monroe, USNR
- 1993: OS1 Shannon Ramey, USN and LT Darwin E. Kroll, USN
- 1992: GSMC Troy Cash, USN and LTJG John Pfeiffer, USN
- 2021: LT Laura A. Krause, USN and MM1 (SW/AW) Cody A. Hauser, USN
- 2020: No award during COVID-19
- 2019: FCA1 (SW) Joe G. Gonzalez, USN and LT Shannon D. Todd, USN
- 2017: SH1 (SW) Anique A. Sands, USN and LTJG Charles L. Hodgkins, USN
- 2016: DC1 (SW) John Bukovinsky, USN and LTJG Scott Snowden, USN
- 2015: ET1 (SW) Adam J. Sperling, USN and LT Kelsey M. Reichardt, USN
- 2014: CTT1 (Sw/IDW) Paul M. Wilson, USN and LTJG Johnathan Falcone, USN
- 2013: MA1 (SW/AW/EXW) Jeremy J. Jones, USN and LT Brandon Clark, USN
- 2012: BM1 (SW) Lance Morrison, USN and LTJG Johnny Stevenson, USN
- 2011: LS1 (SW/AW) Lidia Flores, USN and LTJG Arlene V. Crews, USN
- 2010: HT1 (SW/AW) Daniel J. McAlpine, USN and LTJG Raymond K. Osborne, USN
- 2009: FC1 (SW) Randy Sturgill, USN and LTJG Gregory J. Piorun, USN
- 2008: BM2 (SW) Anjian Deng, USN and LTJG Vincent S. Falcon, USN
- 2007: OS1 (SW) Kevin Dion, USN and ENS Joseph E. Turner, USN
- 2006: No Awards (SEASWAP)
- 2005: No Awards (SEASWAP)
- 2004: No Awards (SEASWAP)
- 2003: MR1 (SW) Chris A. Gates, USN and LTJG Lawrence D. D’Amico, SC, USSNR
- 2002: MS1 (SW) Franklin Jones, USN and ENS Luis A. Gonzalez, USNR
- 2001: FC1 (Sw) Brian L. Strickland, USN and LT Joseph M. Bromley, USN
- 2000: EW1 (SW) James F. Byrd, USN and LT Alex F. Domino, USN
- 1999: ET1 (SW) Robert L. Page, USN and LTJG Daniel K. Neice, USNR
- 1998: GM1 Shaun A. Nidiffer, USN and LT Seth A. Miller, USN
- 1997: GSM1 (SW) Duncan K. Guishard, USN and LTJG Timothy W. Terry, USN
- 1996: OS1 (AW) G. B. Walkes, USN and LT P. E. Sobeck, USN
- Preparing a Spouse for Survivorship: Time-sensitive resource
- 55th (+1) Reunion Update
- Wreaths Across America at USNA
- Action: Reunion Survey
- 21 Sept USS GONZALEZ Leadership Awards Ceremony