RADM Jack M. Darby Award

Established in 1986, The Rear Admiral Jack N. Darby Award for Inspirational Leadership and Excellence of Command recognizes a submarine officer who has displayed exceptional leadership in command. One award is presented annually.

Read about RADM Jack N. Darby

2022 Darby Award Winner:

CDR Joseph L. Campbell, USN

for exceptionally meritorious service as Commanding Officer on USS Kentucky (SSBN 737) (GOLD).

Commander Campbell led his team to sustained performance over three patrol cycles culminating in assessment that Kentucky (GOLD) was the best of fourteen individual crews in the squadron. Kentucky (GOLD) was also awarded the 2021 Engineering Readiness “E”, the Strategic Readiness “S”, and the Weapons Readiness “W” in 2021 and the 2022 Edward F. Ney Award for the best food service in the Navy. Commander Campbell establishes superlative standards across his ship. He has vastly improved operational performance, watch standing, and quality in strategic and tactical operations across the ship. Driving to train like they fight, he led his ship to perform flawlessly during an independent torpedo exercise, ensuring both tactical improvement and growth of experience in his team which led to a major weapon system upgrade for tactical combat operations. He is a recognized expert in strategic operations, and he is focused on his sailors. He has achieved a remarkable retention record. Results are impressive and include over fifty advancements, six selections for Chief Petty Officer, two selections for Limited Duty Officers, and an Executive Officer selected for Command. He has continuously emphasized an in-depth critique and improvement process throughout the ship which has developed a culture of self-improvement and effects-based assessment.

Commander Joseph L. Campbell is most deserving of recognition by the Naval Submarine League to receive the Rear Admiral Jack N. Darby Award for Inspirational Leadership and Excellence of Command.


RADM Jack N. Darby

RADM Jack N Darby

Jack Darby was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, upon graduation from the University of Colorado in 1958. He first served in USS John S. McCain (DL 3). Following Submarine School in 1961, he reported to USS Caiman (SS 323). He qualified in submarines in Caiman, was accepted into the Nuclear Power Program, and completed a year of training in May 1964. He next served in USS Dace (SSN 607) and then USS Theodore Roosevelt (SSBN 600), where he fleeted up to Executive Officer. Command of USS Thomas Jefferson (SSBN 618) was followed by command of USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN 640).
He went on to serve as Executive Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Submarine Warfare, Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, Commander Submarine Squadron TEN and Deputy Director Attack Submarine Division, OPNAV, where he was selected for flag rank. Rear Admiral Darby went on to be Deputy for Politico-Military Affairs in the Plans and Policy Directorate, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In June 1985, Rear Admiral Darby assumed command of the Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Naval Submarine League annual leadership award honors this dynamic and inspirational officer. Throughout his naval career, Jack Darby instilled a sense of purpose and dedication to excellence in all who served with him. His devotion to duty, his uncompromised integrity, and his exemplary personal manner epitomizes the qualities one identifies with the term “command presence.” His assignment as Commandant of Midshipmen was particularly appropriate since it gave then Captain Darby the opportunity to touch the lives and careers of so many aspiring young officers. His last command, the Pacific Submarine Force, once again allowed him to influence directly officers in command of the ships of the force.
The commanding officers who are selected for the Naval Submarine League Rear Admiral Jack N. Darby Award for Inspirational Leadership and Excellence of Command can be very proud to be thus associated with an exceptional and inspirational leader.