Story by Public Affairs Office / Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport
Cmdr. Jason Patton joined the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport as executive officer, officially relieving Cmdr. Michael Kendel on Dec. 14. With more than 20 years of U.S. Navy service, Patton brings much fleet experience to the warfare center.
His first weeks at Division Newport have been full of tours and opportunities to meet and talk with the many scientists, engineers and employees at the Command.
“I’ve appreciated the warm welcome from everyone here, and the outstanding enthusiasm for what they do,” Patton said. “Everyone has been more than willing to give me their time and it’s really helped me to get a better understanding of what’s going on here at NUWC.”
Prior to joining Division Newport, Patton had interactions with the Command via fleet support while deployed, and noted that the service he received was outstanding.
While serving as executive officer, he hopes that the Command can leverage his fleet experience.
Patton enlisted in the Navy from Laramie, Wyoming in 2001. After initial training as an engineering laboratory technician, he was selected for the prestigious Seaman to Admiral Commissioning Program, in which enlisted Sailors are given the opportunity to receive a commission while maintaining the benefits of being on active duty. He attended the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and received a degree in nuclear engineering prior to his commissioning as an ensign.
After the initial training pipeline, Patton’s sea tours included USS San Juan (SSN 751), USS Memphis (SSN 691) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23). Most recently he served as the executive officer aboard USS Minnesota (SSN 783). During this time he served with elite teams, earning the Battle Efficiency “E” Award four times. Additional unit awards include the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Navy Unit Commendation, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Ashore, Commander Patton completed tours as flag aide to the commander of Submarine Group Two and the director of the Submarine Officer Advanced Course at Naval Submarine School in New London, Connecticut. Additionally, he attended the Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kansas, during which he completed Joint Professional Military Education Phase I and earned a master’s degree in project management from the University of Kansas.
When the time came for his next assignment, he chose Division Newport as one of his top preferences.
“This was because of how different it was from some of the other jobs on the list, and the high regard I held NUWC in from my time on submarines,” he said.
It took some time for Patton to find out that he was selected as Division Newport’s new executive officer.
“I was in the middle of a deployment when I put my preferences in, and without any communication at the time, I didn’t know what job I was going to be in for a couple of months.”
Although familiar with the fleet support and research aspects of Division Newport, Patton admitted that he didn’t realize how big the organization is.
“It was a bit of a shock,” he said. “It really kind of blew my mind how many employees, particularly scientists, we have here, and the high caliber of people.”
Patton plans to keep up relationships with other military commands, such as Naval Station Newport and various float units, ensuring the continuation of the high level of support that Division Newport provides. He will also oversee operations of a military detachment that is comprised of nearly 30 Sailors.
“I want to make sure that we’re meeting the requirements that we have — not only that but excelling and doing the best we can,” he said. “The only way to achieve that is through a whole team effort. It’s not a one-person or a one-department show, it’s the whole NUWC team that’s required to continue to achieve excellence into the future.”
Patton said he looks forward to meeting more employees as they transition from teleworking to spending more time in the office and hopes to provide more synergy with the team.
“I see the workforce becoming a little bit younger, so bringing in new talent is important,” he said.
“The big thing in the mid- to long-term is getting the older workforce to mentor new individuals coming in, and building the next generation that’s going to take NUWC 20 to 30 years into the future.”
Patton currently resides in Gales Ferry, Connecticut, with his wife Kristen and their three children.
Kendel is now on an overseas assignment.
NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.
NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher’s Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.
Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NUWC-Newport/Career-Opportunities/ and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.