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Mason Wins Green 'H' Award

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS110515-10

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeffry A. Willadsen, USS Mason Public Affairs

USS MASON, At Sea (NNS) -- Guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) was named as a 2010 Force Health and Wellness Unit Award, or Green 'H', winner, May 3.

The Green 'H' is awarded to commands that demonstrate outstanding commitment to the health and wellness of its Sailors. It also reflects upon the crew's professionalism and readiness in performing their mission.

The award is based on excellence in a number of criteria. A high percentage of a ship's crew must be trained on health, safety and wellness issues, such as sight conservation, hearing conservation, heat stress, nutrition, suicide prevention, tobacco cessation and other topics. Medical readiness must be exceptionally high, as well as high scores on the crew's physical readiness tests (PRTs), to ensure optimum physical fitness and wellness for the ship's crew.

The award program not only focuses on the physical health and safety of Sailors, but also mental health and overall well-being and lifestyle choices; which, according to Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Roger Phibbs, leading petty officer of Mason's medical department, is vital to sustaining effective combat operations at-sea.

"Our mission as the medical team here on Mason is to take care of our shipmates; keeping them well and healthy so they can do their jobs," said Phibbs. "This award helps encourage both physical and mental wellness, rewards the medical team and the entire crew for their efforts, and helps build a sense of pride and camaraderie aboard the ship. Overall, it helps keep Sailors happy, healthy and ready to carry out their nation's missions."

In receiving the award, Mason received the right to paint a green 'H' on the ship's bridge wing as recognition for the ship's achievement.

According to Command Master Chief Raymond Kemp, winning the award took a lot of coordination and support from the medical department.

"We couldn't have done it without the support of our medical team," said Kemp. "They showed outstanding leadership and excellence."

According to Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class John Johnson, meeting the high standards set by the award program not only took effort from the medical department, but a lot of hard work from the entire Mason team.

"It took hundreds of hours of training time to get this award," said Johnson. "Everyone on Mason deserves recognition for their efforts in getting us to this point," he said.

Mason is the flagship of Combined Maritime Forces' Coalition Task Force (CTF) 151, supporting counter piracy and maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. CTF 151 is a multi-national task force established by the Combined Maritime Forces in January 2009 to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, Somali Basin and Arabian Sea.

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