Distinguished Submariner Award

The Naval Submarine League Distinguished Submariner Award recognizes the personal contributions of submarine qualified individuals, officer or enlisted. This award was originally established in 1983 as the Submarine Hero Award, and renamed in 2000 as the Distinguished Submariner Award.
The award is to be made to the most deserving individual when considering his or her lifetime achievements.  The contributions may have been during distinguished service in positions of responsibility in the fleet, or, following naval service, the awardee made contributions of extraordinary value to the success of the submarine force, the Navy, or the nation.
Nominations may be submitted by email to execdirector@navalsubleague.org and should provide a description (no more than a one-page attachment) of how the person meets the criteria above.


2022 Award Winners

Mr. Martin Cooper, USN, Ret.


2022 Distinguished Submariner: Mr. Martin Cooper

Citation for Mr. Martin Cooper:

For engineering and inventions of extraordinary value to the Nation.

“Marty” Cooper is known as the “father of the cell phone.” He attended the Illinois Institute of Technology on a Navy scholarship. After serving on a destroyer, he chose to become a submarine officer and served on USS Tang (SS 563), one of the last non-nuclear submarines, during the early 1950s. After leaving the Navy, he started his career as an engineer and inventor. In 1973, he and his Motorola team designed and developed the first hand-held cellular phone. He is cited as the first person in history to make a cellular phone call in public, which was from a Manhattan sidewalk to a competitor at AT&T. Marty has received many awards, including the Charles Draper Prize for Engineering and the Marconi Prize. Time magazine named him one of the “100 Best Inventors in History.” Marty co-founded numerous communications companies with his wife and business partner, Arlene Harris. He is a pioneer in the wireless communications industry, especially in radio spectrum management, with eleven patents in the field. He formulated the law of spectral efficiency, also known as Cooper’s law, which states that the number of voice or data transactions that occur in the radio spectrum, without interfering with each other, doubles every 30 months.

Mr. Martin Cooper is most deserving of recognition by the Naval Submarine League to receive the 2022 Distinguished Submariner Award.


Distinguished Submariner Awardees

Prior to 2019, the award was restricted to “a Naval Officer, whose contributions have been of extraordinary value to the success of the United States Navy’s submarine program … considering the entire history of the submarine program.”

2022   Mr. Martin Cooper
2021   ADM Richard W. Mies, USN, Ret. and ADM Frank L. Bowman, USN, Ret.
2020   ADM Archie R. Clemins, USN, Ret. and VADM Ronald M. Eytchison, USN, Ret.
2019   VADM George W. Emery, USN, Ret.
2018    ADM Hank Chiles, USN, Ret. and RADM Jerry Holland, USN, Ret.
2017    ADM Powell F. Carter, USN, Ret. (posthumously), VADM Daniel L. Cooper, USN, Ret., and VADM Ron Thunman, USN, Ret.
2016    ADM Bruce DeMars, USN, Ret., and ADM William Smith, USN, Ret.
2015    VADM Kenneth M. Carr, USN, Ret. & VADM John H. Nicholson, USN, Ret.
2014    VADM Bernard M. Kauderer, USN, Ret., & ADM Charles Larson, USN, Ret. (posthumously)
2013    VADM E. A. Burkhalter, Jr., USN, Ret. & ADM Frank B. Kelso, II, USN, Ret. (posthumously)
2012    VADM Patrick J. Hannifin, USN, Ret.
2011    ADM Kinnaird R. McKee, USN, Ret.
2010    VADM Joe Williams, Jr., USN, Ret.
2009    Team Submarine
2008    Submarine Force Master & Senior CPOs & COBs
2007    Submarine Medal of Honor Winners
2006    RADM Robert H. Wertheim, USN, Ret.
2005    ADM Carlisle A. H. Trost, USN, Ret.
2004    The Submarine Family
2003    ADM William J Crowe, Jr., USN, Ret.
2002    ADM  James D. “Jim” Watkins, USN, Ret.
2001    CAPT Edward L. “Ned” Beach, USN, Ret.
2000    WW II Submariners

Submarine Hero Awardees

1999     VADM James F. Calvert, USN, Ret.
1998     VADM Arnold F. “Arnie” Schade, USN, Ret.
1997     ADM Robert L. J. “Bob” Long, USN, Ret.
1996     VADM Dennis Wilkinson, USN, Ret.
1995     VADM Eli Reich, USN, Ret.
1994     RADM John S. “Jack” Coye, USN, Ret.
1993     Mrs. Patricia Lee Lewis
1992     CAPT Slade D. Cutter, USN, Ret.
1991     RADM William T. “Bill” Kinsella, USN, Ret.
1990     RDML Richard H. “Dick” O’Kane, USN, Ret.
1989     CAPT George L. Street III, USN, Ret.
1988     RADM Roy S. Benson, USN, Ret.
1987     ADM I. J. “Pete” Galantin, USN, Ret.
1986     RADM Frederick B. “Fred” Warder, USN, Ret.
1985     RADM Eugene B. “Gene” Fluckey, USN, Ret.
1984     ADM Bernard A. “Chick” Clarey, USN, Ret.
1983     VADM Lawson P. “Red” Ramage, USN, Ret.