A former U.S. Naval War College (NWC) Sailor was honored in a ceremony on Naval Station Newport Friday as the 25th Military Woman of the Year for the State of Rhode Island.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Takeyia Brandon, who recently transferred to Bahrain, earned the annual award from Military Women Across the Nation, Ocean State Unit 118, an organization dedicated to the encouragement of patriotism, loyalty, and devotion to God, country and family. The group is formerly known as WAVES National.
While Brandon couldn’t attend the ceremony, NWC President Rear Adm. Jeffrey Harley explained why her work was cited while at the school.
“She demonstrated impressive initiative, foresight and intellect while leading 38 Sailors within the Wargaming department, the largest department at the war college,” he said.
“I’m truly honored because I know of so many great women in the military who do great things for our country and community without recognition,” said Brandon from her current assignment in Bahrain. “It’s done from the heart with nothing expected in return. So when you do get recognized, it’s very nice and very appreciated.”
Though her career has taken her away from Rhode Island, she enjoyed her time here.
“My time at the Naval War College was a true blessing,” she said. “Being surrounded by great leadership — both military and civilian — great sailors, and huge opportunities made my time there very valuable. I’d go back in a heartbeat. They truly know how to take care of their people.”
Brandon was previously honored as NWC’s Senior Sailor of the year for 2016 prior to her transfer. She also is very active as a volunteer in the community during her time at the school.
Harley accepted the award on Brandon’s behalf. The honor was accompanied by a certificate signed by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, citations signed by Rhode Island legislative leaders, a certificate of accomplishment signed by Connecticut Sen. Christopher Murphy, and an award from Joseph Ganim, mayor of Bridgeport, Conn., Brandon’s hometown.
“I want to personally thank her for her dedication, motivation, expertise and infectious attitude she had while she was stationed at the U.S. Naval War College,” Harley added.
Her record of accomplishment impressed the selection committee.
“Her flawless record of performance sets an example for men and women alike,” said retired Rear Adm. Barbara McGann, chair of the Military Woman of the Year selection committee. “She took on the toughest jobs and did them with tireless dedication and superb results.”
Speakers at the ceremony included Ginny Hanson, president of Unit 118; Lori Ashness, state director of the group; Samuel Azzinaro, state representative and chairman of the Rhode Island Veterans’ Affairs Committee; Patty Park, president, Military Women Across the Nation; and Harley.
The Wargaming department conducts high-quality applied gaming, research, analysis, and education to support the school’s mission, prepare future maritime leaders, and help shape key decisions on the future of the Navy.