Gary Huntress, Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) subject matter expert in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department, and retired employee John DiMaio, project and design engineer/architect in the Corporate Operations Department, recently earned Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, the third highest honorary civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Navy.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Meredith Berger (from left) presents John DiMaio, former project and design engineer/architect in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport Facilities Branch, a Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the third highest honorary civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Navy. DiMaio, who retired in December 2021, was recognized for his impressive technical competency, efficiency, and passion as Division Newport’s resident architect from 2003 to 2022. The award ceremony held on May 5, 2022, was attended by his wife Joan and Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings. 


Huntress, an electrical engineer and resident of Swansea, Massachusetts, was recognized for advancing AI/ML as the lead for collaboration, discussion and education across NUWC Division Newport and beyond. 

“He regularly provides technical expertise and advice to Division Newport leaders for AI/ML infrastructure and internal science and technology investments, and his recommendations have resulted in over $1 million in purchases for ML advancements,” the award states. “Huntress is a founding member and the lead facilitator of Division Newport’s AI/ML Community of Interest and has diligently worked on initiatives to advance AI/ML proficiency.” 

As integration agent on the Jai Alai Team, Huntress successfully developed a novel architecture using augmented data to provide enhanced acoustic capabilities, and was responsible for producing integrated models that multiply the effectiveness of previously isolated models.

As an integral member of the team supporting Project Harbinger (sponsored by the Undersea Warfighting Development Center in Groton, Connecticut), Huntress was honored for his “efforts and expertise in cloud administration, data handling and database administration were instrumental in delivering a key capability to the fleet on time, as a ship’s schedule was linked to accreditation for temporary alterations,” the award states.

DiMaio, a resident of Cranston, Rhode Island who retired in December 2021, served as a project and design engineer and as NUWC Division Newport’s resident architect for 18 years. His expertise and pride of ownership was instrumental to the successful design and completion of several dozen facility renovation projects. 

Although he specialized in architecture, DiMaio was proficient in designing project packages independently across many disciplines, such as mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, electrical systems, building envelope, roof, window treatments and elevators. He successfully led several initiatives with short-fused command leadership attention, including the monument design and installation for Division Newport 150th anniversary celebration held on July 29, 2019. Read more about that celebration at: https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NUWC-Newport/Who-We-Are/History/

“It was through DiMaio’s persistence and ownership of that project that the Facilities Branch was able to complete the monument installation ahead of schedule and in time for the grand unveiling event in July 2019,” the award states. “Evidence of his workmanship can be found in almost every building throughout Division Newport and as such, he has contributed to the success and expansion of Division Newport facilities during his tenure.”

Huntress and DiMaio were recognized during a livestream event hosted by Commanding Officer Capt. Chad Hennings and Technical Director Ron Vien last month. In addition, DiMaio was presented with his award by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment Meredith Berger during her visit to NUWC Division Newport on May 5.

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. 

This story is by the Public Affiars Office at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Newport. It was originally published here.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. Although not the founder or original owner, Belmore has been with What'sUpNewp since its early beginnings in 2012.

Belmore was born in Providence, Rhode Island; grew up and graduated high school in Coventry, Rhode Island; and lived in Newport, Rhode Island for more than ten years. He currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals.

He and his wife, Jen, as well as their two dogs (Aero and June), recently moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Belmore travels back and forth to Newport every couple of weeks to cover events, work on story ideas, to meet with What'sUpNewp's on-the-ground contributors, to visit friends, and to eat as much seafood as possible.

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