Story by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Thomas L. Gooley // USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs
Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Kevin Warkentin, assigned to aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), was named the 2015 Engineer of the Year for Commander, Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Feb. 22, 2016.
The Engineer of the Year award recognizes contributions to force readiness made by engineering personnel aboard aircraft carriers. Every year, each carrier nominates an enlisted candidate, E-6 and below, that is deserving of the title.
Warkentin, now the reactor training leading petty officer, was recognized for his role as the two-plant reactor propulsion leading petty officer throughout 2015. During this time, he led 42 Sailors through a compressed maintenance availability, completing more than 800 maintenance items and 600 retests.
Warkentin said he was very surprised and felt honored to represent what he considers to be unbelievable Reactor and Engineering departments aboard Truman. Warkentin was quick to credit his friends and family who he deems as major contributors to his success.
“I really can’t believe I won the award,” said Warkentin. “I couldn’t have done it without the love and support from my wife, the crew in the pipe shop, the welding shop, and finally, but not least, everyone in my work center.”
Master Chief Machinist Mate Cindy Huratiak nominated Warkentin for the award, stating his commitment toward mission accomplishment and development of his Sailors made the nomination an easy choice.
“Engineer of the Year is a prestigious award and Warkentin demonstrates that persona,” said Huratiak. “We had quite a few hurdles prior to deployment with compressed availability, yet Warkentin always kept his calm and remained focused.”
Huratiak said Warkentin is not only technically astute, but he always ensures his people do things the right way.
“Petty Officer Warkentin is the type of Sailor we want leading Sailors,” said Huratiak. “He gets his hands dirty and teaches the younger Sailors to do the same, and they follow. All while doing things the right way because it’s the right thing to do.”
Senior Chief Machinist Mate Brad Harmon, the reactor training leading chief petty officer, directly supervises Warkentin and echoes Huraitak’s remarks.
“He certainly makes my job a lot easier,” said Harmon. “He is always on top of everything whether it’s with ships training or reactor training — he does things before I can even ask for it. He definitely continues to demonstrate his worthiness of the award.”