SAN DIEGO (April 29, 2011) – Naval Surface Forces (SURFOR) announced Lt. j.g. Nicole Lobecker of USS Port Royal (CG 73) as the 2010 Shiphandler of the Year, April 29.

"One of the core competencies of shiphandling is safety, and professionally that is how surface warfare officers build their reputation," said Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, Commander, Naval Surface Forces. "This is important because we get the opportunity to recognize the best in the fleet. The competition was exceptionally keen this year, but in the end, Lt. j.g. Lobecker excelled across the range of challenging shiphandling evolutions."

The two finalists, Lt. Matt Klock, USS Truxtun's (DDG 103) Navigation Officer, and Lobecker, Port Royal's assistant Combat System's Officer competed for the Surface Force Junior Officer Shiphandler of the Year at the Navigation, Seamanship, Shiphandling Training (NSST) Center in San Diego. They completed several evolutions including underway replenishment, man overboard, and mooring to and leaving a pier.

"It was surreal and I didn't believe it at first when I found out I was the Shiphandler of the Year," said Lobecker. "I was stressed and nervous when I showed up for the final competition. I stayed up late studying the rules of the road the night before and I even brought briefs with me to study."

Each competitor was graded on "Rules of the Road" application, proper use of standard commands, coordination of engine and helm orders, development and execution of a plan and their ability to adapt their plan to unforeseen circumstances.

"It was clear that both of these officers understood their individual ship characteristics, the basic forces that effect a ship and superbly demonstrated exceptional knowledge, confidence and mariner skills," said Curtis. "Congratulations to both of these fine officers."

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