PORT HUENEME, Calif. — Two sailors stationed at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) earned the command’s top honors for enlisted personnel for their efforts to support the fleet and fellow sailors.
NSWC PHD named Fire Controlman 1st Class (FC1) James Warren its Senior Sailor of the Year and FC2 Zachary Karstedt its Sailor of the Year for fiscal 2022.
Master Chief Eric Vu, NSWC PHD’s senior enlisted leader, said that both sailors delivered exemplary performance over the past year.
“FC1 Warren’s steadfast dedication, exceptional leadership and command accomplishment led to his selection as NSWC PHD’s Senior Sailor of the Year,” Vu said. “FC2 Karstedt’s meticulous training and hard work led to his selection as our Sailor of the Year.”
Both Warren and Karstedt also tapped their technical expertise to help keep the fleet combat ready in 2022.
Combat and career support
Warren, a native of Orlando, Florida, enlisted in the Navy in 2007. He has served aboard several Ticonderoga-class cruisers — USS San Jacinto (CG 56), homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Antietam (CG 54), both homeported in Yokosuka, Japan.
Warren came to NSWC PHD in June 2021. In his role as a leading petty officer, he specializes in the Tomahawk Weapons System, which Navy ships use to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Specifically, Warren serves as a Tomahawk weapons system technician, testing and troubleshooting Tomahawk communication path issues.
“I provide technical support for all of the Tomahawk systems in the Navy,” he said.
During fiscal 2022, Warren led a joint civilian-military team to resolve Tomahawk situations, saving the Navy significant labor costs.
Warren also took part in two Tomahawk flight tests and related testing, which boosted fleet readiness, according to Vu.
“His feedback during these evolutions streamlined Tomahawk system procedures, making service to the fleet faster and more efficient,” Vu said.
Warren was also instrumental in restructuring and modernizing NSWC PHD’s Tomahawk systems test equipment room.
“He contributed over 350 man hours upgrading equipment, resulting in superior quality support to the fleet,” Vu said.
In addition to his Tomahawk support work, Warren assists other military personnel as NSWC PHD’s command career counselor. In that role, he helps fellow sailors through processes such as reenlistments, retirements and changing their ratings.
“I help them with pretty much all aspects of their careers and achieving their goals,” Warren said. “I enjoy meeting or exceeding the expectations of the sailors, getting them exactly what they’re looking for.”
Warren also gave a nod to his NSWC PHD shipmates as he spoke about his Senior Sailor of the Year recognition.
“It’s an amazing honor,” he said. “You never think you will be that person, when you have so many sailors with so many different contributions to the command.”
Warren added that he enjoyed experiencing the people, culture and cuisine of Japan while he was stationed in Yokosuka. During his four-year tenure there, he trained nearly 150 sailors in self-defense and armed sentry procedures.
Best of all, Warren said, he met his future wife in Yokosuka. They now live in Santa Paula, California, with one daughter and another on the way.
Boosting radar readiness
Karstedt, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, enlisted in the Navy in 2015, following in the footsteps of his mom and stepdad, both Navy veterans.
Like Warren, Karstedt served aboard USS San Jacinto. He said he enjoyed chances to see the world, with Greece and the Bahamas being a few of his favorite stops.
His last deployment aboard USS San Jacinto was different. Embarking during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the cruiser stayed underway for 206 days.
“We didn’t pull into any ports,” Karstedt said. “It was a long time to be underway.”
Karstedt came to NSWC PHD in February 2021. As a radar technician, he provides technical support and training for ships equipped with surface search and fire control radar.
“I work with the engineers here going to ships to do testing if they have issues, and helping with installations,” Karstedt said. “I very much enjoy troubleshooting and solving technical challenges.”
His training efforts also helped enhance fleet readiness. During 2022, Karstedt logged 110 hours instructing 18 sailors aboard multiple ships on radar operation and maintenance. He said that the sailors he trains are often fresh from school and haven’t yet been on deployment, so it’s important to give them hands-on training and guidance with radar systems.
Karstedt also contributed to radar testing during 2022.
“His technical knowledge was evident for four successful live-fire events, increasing capability throughout our naval forces,” Vu said.
As for his Sailor of the Year recognition, Karstedt said he was surprised to be singled out.
“I go to work, do what I’m asked to do and get the job done,” he said. “This is a big award, and I’m definitely happy to receive it.”
NSWC PHD is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and provides the U.S. Navy fleet with in-service engineering, test and evaluation, and product support for combat systems. The command is located at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme.
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