By Lt. j.g. Danielle Tatchio
VP-8 Public Affairs Officer
Three Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) "Fighting Tigers" recently received the 2016 Navy and Marine Association (NMA) Leadership Award, having been chosen by their peers for exhibiting the highest levels of excellence in leadership.
Cmdr. Christopher Wood, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Steffens, and Lt. Ryan Duffy were nominated by their peers and selected for three of the four leadership awards presented by NMA to Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11.
NMA sponsors more than 400 awards annually for presentation by the Commanders of Naval Air Forces, Naval Surfaces Forces, U.S. Marine Forces, Atlantic and Pacific and the Superintendent of the US Naval Academy to those officer and enlisted personnel who have been selected by their peers as outstanding leaders in their respective communities. The NMA Leadership Award is an award recognizing the most outstanding leaders within Commander, Naval Air Force's operational aviation commands and onboard aircraft carriers.
Wood served as the commanding officer of VP-8 from April 2016 through May 2017, during which time he oversaw the squadron's first deployment of the brand new P-8A Poseidon. In this deployment to the 7th Fleet Area of Operations (AOR), VP-8 successfully completed 608 sorties totaling 3,568 flight hours, with 100 percent mission completion rate. The Fighting Tigers were recognized for their outstanding performance with the 2016 Capt. J. A. Isbell ASW Trophy and the 2016 Arleigh Burke Fleet Trophy Award.
Steffens has served as the VP-8 training officer, carrier task group operations officer, maintenance officer, and currently serves as the operations officer. In the course of his tour with VP-8, he completed detachments to Norway and Canada as well as the Tigers' maiden P-8A deployment to the 7th Fleet AOR.
Duffy joined the Navy in 2002 as a naval aircrewman, deploying to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. After earning his commission as a naval aviator in 2014, Duffy joined VP-8 and currently serves as the pilot training officer.
"It's an honor to be recognized, but it means so much more to have been chosen by my peers in this community," Duffy said. "In the end, patrol and reconnaissance aviation is a group effort - on the plane and amongst the force - and I'm proud to support the team to be successful."