LTJG Phong Nguyen
The Rear Admiral Thurston H. James Memorial Award is presented annually since 1965 to the student Naval Flight Officer achieving the highest overall flight and academic grades during the preceding calendar year as determined by the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA). The Award was established by the General Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States and the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) in honor of the late Commander General of the Naval Order, (RADM Thurston H. James) who was designated a naval pilot in 1928.
This year the Rear Admiral Thurston H. James Memorial Award was presented by was presented by Naval Order Companion ADM Thomas Hayward USN CNO and Colonel Allan F. Cruz, USMC (Ret.), Commander of the San Francisco Commandery, to LTJG Phong Nguyen.
From a letter by LTJG Nguyen received by members of the Naval Order:
“ADM Hayward, COL Cruz, and Gentlemen (and Ladies) of the Naval Order,
“Thank you for making the trip to NAS Whidbey Island to present me with the RADM Thurston H. James award at the Officers’ Club. To receive an award from former CNO ADM Hayward is something I would not have imagined when I started my training as a Naval Flight Officer almost three years ago. It was an honor to meet and stand alongside both ADM. Hayward and COL Cruz in front of my peers and superiors.
“To you, the large formation of current naval aviators at the club may be reminiscent of past experience. It was a proud and enjoyable moment to witness the electronic attack community come out in force to celebrate a personal achievement as well as to see the newest Growler aircrew joining their fleet squadrons. Thanks to the Naval Order, I know it is a moment I will never forget.“