2014 Navy Times
Winner
CTRC Jeremy Crandall
USS Abraham Lincoln, Newport News, VA

Chief Cryptologic Technician (Collection) Jeremy Crandall is described by superiors and subordinates as a humble leader driven by a desire to see sailors develop and succeed.

Crandall’s career as a cryptologic technician is storied. He had fewer than two years in uniform when, on April 1, 2001, he was one of 24 crew members detained by China after a collision between their EP-3E ARIES II signals intelligence aircraft and a Chinese J-8II interceptor fighter forced an emergency landing. In the long 11 days that followed, he witnessed the "strong and selfless leadership" of a senior enlisted crew member who helped get the team through its harrowing ordeal. This example had a lasting impression on Crandall, who cites this as the defining model of his own career.

Crandall has spent much of the past 15 years encouraging and enabling at-risk sailors who face dire circumstances of their own. Most recently, the chief created BALLAST, a wide-ranging program centered on 342 hours of classroom instruction covering everything from financial management and drug/alcohol awareness to naval history and professional appearance. The program also features 18 hours of community service. Named after the ballast used to keep a ship upright and afloat, the program is nearing completion of its first year. Though it was originally designed to correct and direct at-risk sailors, the program has gained popularity among enlisted leaders and now has a waiting list of volunteers who look to grow personally and professionally.

“Chief Crandall is a strong example of what it means to be a Navy chief. He has the attention of his subordinates, the respect of his fellow chiefs, the support of the ship’s officers and the trust of his commander.”

Capt. Karl Thomas, Abraham Lincoln’s commanding officer

There is little need for a cryptologic technician while a nuclear-powered carrier goes through the three-year Refueling and Complex Overhaul. Instead of coasting through this tour, Crandall stepped up to take charge of the ship's security forces. In that role, he leads one of the ship’s largest divisions – 128 sailors representing 22 different ratings. The division has achieved a 70 percent advancement rate and 90 percent retention rate, and 36 sailors have earned individual warfare qualifications.

The chief’s selfless service does not end when he departs the carrier. The Civil War buff has more than four dozen volunteer hours as a historical guide in Lee Hall Mansion in Newport News, Virginia. Crandall also mentors dozens of youths at his local church, and does so while maintaining a 3.90 grade point average in pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in history from Southern New Hampshire University, where he was recently inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda, a national honor society that recognizes high academic achievement.

Crandall's warfare qualifications include the Enlisted Information Dominance Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist, Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and Naval Aircrewman designations, and his personal awards include the Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medals and the Navy Achievement Medal.