VADM Levering Smith Award
Established in 1986, The Vice Admiral Levering Smith Award for Submarine Support Achievement recognizes specific or continuing submarine support actions which have most contributed to the furtherance of the spirit or fighting mettle of the Submarine Force. Submarine support actions shall include service in submarine support activities, submarine maintenance and training activities, and other such activities engaged in direct support of the operating Submarine Force. One award is presented annually to a Navy or Naval Reserve service member (Officer or Enlisted) lieutenant commander or junior.
2022 Award Winner:
LCDR Nicholas D. Chiudioni, USN
for outstanding meritorious service as Production Management Assistant at the Naval Submarine Support Facility New London, CT.
Lieutenant Commander Chiudioni leads this key maintenance support facility in scheduling and executing non-nuclear support of nine nuclear submarines, the Historic Ship Nautilus (SSN 571), and a floating drydock. In the past year, his team accomplished almost 70,000 man-days of work. They completed nineteen Continuous Maintenance Availabilities, ten Emergent Availabilities, six Fly-Away team taskers, and 74 Discrete Unscheduled Maintenance Availabilities. LCDR Chiudioni pioneered a new approach to availability planning and assessments. His focus is on understanding the strengths and weaknesses of his team to maximize completion of work. His leadership spans the European Theater. All time-critical repairs were conducted in foreign ports, within the allotted timeframe, in support of continued on-station operation of deployed submarines conducting missions critical to national security. His leadership impacts went well beyond those directly supporting deployable submarines. Under his supervision, Historic Ship Nautilus completed a drydocking availability, and the drydock was subsequently prepared for a tow to Norfolk for its overhaul. As a result of his leadership efforts across the New London waterfront and the European Theater, this Naval Submarine Support Facility has become the premier facility for intermediate level maintenance, keeping the Navy’s submarines fully capable in support of missions vital to national security for years to come.
Lieutenant Commander Nicholas D. Chiudioni is most deserving of recognition by the Naval Submarine League to receive the Vice Admiral Levering Smith Award for Submarine Professional Excellence.
VADM Levering Smith
Levering Smith graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1932. During World War II, he participated in campaigns and engagements in the Pacific including the Battles of Santa Cruz and Lunga Point, and surviving the sinkings of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet and the cruiser USS Northampton. He also took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea in the cruiser USS Indianapolis.
Admiral Smith’s contribution to the promotion of technology began after his distinguished WWII service with his assignment to the Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, California. In that work, he concluded that a small, solid propellant missile would be the logical choice for surface ship and submarine launching. This work propelled him into the pursuit of a viable strategic deterrent for the nation and caused the disbanding of the joint Army-Navy Committee pursuing the application of a liquid fueled missile. Admiral Smith was appointed Technical Director of the Navy’s Special Projects Office, which was given complete responsibility for the Polaris Program.
The years that followed, with Admiral Smith as Technical Director, then Director of the Strategic Systems Project Office, saw the deployment of an operational system in just four years. After Polaris came the Poseidon and Trident Programs, each developing a set of technologies crucial to the success of these strategic force elements. Admiral Levering Smith, more than any other individual, was responsible for the successful marriage of the ballistic missile with the nuclear submarine. His early pioneering in large solid propellant motors made the submarine launched ballistic missile a safe and practical reality. His technical direction in advancing technology of solid propellants, electronics and weight reducing materials led to increased range and payload that made the Fleet Ballistic Missile the most survivable of our strategic forces. His management practices focused the efforts of a highly successful and enduring government and industry team on common goals with clearly understood priorities.
Recipients of the Naval Submarine League Vice Admiral Levering Smith Award for Submarine Support Achievement can be justly proud to be thus associated with this naval officer, scientist and gentleman of enormous proportion.