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Strategic Systems Programs Awards Rare 50 Year Fleet Ballistic Missile Pins

24 October 2023

From Shelby Thompson

WASHINGTON NAVY YARD - Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) presented three 50 Year Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) pins to Mr. Douglas Crandall, Mr. Marvin Hart, and Dr. David Lando in a ceremony at SSP Headquarters October 18, 2023.

The FBM Service Pin Program was established in 1968 as a means of granting special recognition to military, civilian, and contractor personnel who have made significant contributions to the FBM program. These lapel pins are awarded for each decade of creditable service, along with a certificate signed by the Director, Strategic Systems Programs. 50 years is the longest service length eligible for this recognition. To date, SSP has awarded 53 50 Year FBM pins.

The recipients demonstrated the highest level of dedication to the FBM program and are tied together by their commitment to SSP’s strategic deterrence mission. During the ceremony, Vice Admiral Johnny R. Wolfe, Jr., Director Strategic Systems Programs thanked them and their families for their lifetime of support.
“The three folks we are recognizing today have made strategic deterrence their life’s work,” said Vice Adm. Wolfe.

Mr. Crandall supported the FBM program through each generation of strategic weapons system (SWS): Polaris, Poseidon, Trident I C4, and the Trident II D5. Over his career, he achieved a rare milestone.

“Doug has spent over 240 days at sea in his civilian capacity to ensure the success of the strategic deterrent mission,” said Vice Adm. Wolfe. “He has gone to sea on every submarine that has carried a Trident SWS, an accomplishment few can claim.”

Mr. Crandall joined the program during the conversion from the Polaris SWS to the Poseidon SWS on the previous “41 for Freedom” ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) at Electric Boat in 1973. He is now a Senior Systems Engineer with JRC Integrated Systems, Inc.

Mr. Marvin Hart supported the FBM program as both a military service member and contractor. When he commissioned, he became the 17th Chief Warrant Officer Submarine Underwater Ordnance Technician in the entire U.S. Navy, consciously choosing a challenging and rigorous career.

“When the Navy needed someone to step up, you did that,” said Vice Adm. Wolfe, referencing how rare it was for a service member to choose that career path. “Every single person you mentored, you made better.”

After retiring from the Navy in 1994, Mr. Hart continued to support the FBM program in civilian contractor roles at SPL and KAMAN Sciences, where he made an immeasurable impact on SSP’s nation-wide workforce. He improved safety conditions for technicians at the Strategic Weapons Facilities (SWFs) and was a valued teacher. He is currently a Nuclear Surety Subject Matter Expert with Arcfield.

Dr. Lando’s support to the FBM program began in 1973 as the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division Program Manager working on the Fire Control System and Mission Planning. For half a century he developed, mentored, and served the Dahlgren community in support of SSP’s strategic mission, and was dedicated towards molding the experts of the future,. After 38 years as a Navy civilian, he is currently a Principle Technical Specialist Subject Matter Expert with Arcfield. Throughout his career he never lost site of the most important piece of the job – people.

“The common thread throughout all of our careers is the criticality of the mission and the dedication of the people who make it happen,” said Dr. Lando.

Mr. Crandall, Mr. Hart, and Dr. Lando continue to be valued mentors in the FBM program. They advocate for the workforce and encourage team members to extend their levels of knowledge and proficiency through training, education, and hand-on experience. After more than 50 years in the program, they know that investing in the next generation of trailblazers is crucial to maintaining the nation’s technological edge.

“We need to ask ourselves the question of who will step up and fill our shoes once we move on,” said Mr. Hart.

As the ceremony ended, friends, family, and coworkers offered warm-hearted congratulations. Not one to mince words, Mr. Hart summed up the feelings of everyone on the stage,

“It’s been a great ride.”

Strategic Systems Programs is the Navy command that provides cradle-to-grave lifecycle support for the sea-based leg of the nation’s nuclear triad. This includes training, systems, equipment, facilities and personnel responsible for ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nation’s Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) Trident II (D5LE) Strategic Weapon System. SLBMs make up the majority – approximately 70 percent – of the U.S.’s deployed strategic nuclear deterrent Triad. The SLBM is the most survivable, provides persistent presence, and allows flexible concept of operations.

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