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NPS Oceanographer receives Navy Meritorious Service Award
Courtesy photo

NPS Oceanographer receives Navy Meritorious Service Award

By MC2 Michael Ehrlich

For 30 years of service to the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) Oceanography department, Marla Stone was presented with the Meritorious Civilian Service Award, March 3. As an oceanographer at NPS, Stone was instrumental in establishing and operating the Oceanography Moored Equipment Lab from April 1989 until her retirement in Dec. 2018.

“I am very honored and surprised that I was selected to receive the award,” said Stone. “I knew a nomination was submitted, but I didn't think I would be selected. I retired and never heard a word until recently. What a fantastic surprise! It is a special award and I am extremely grateful. It shows me that my hard work was appreciated and acknowledged.”

As noted on her award citation, Stone’s “exceptional abilities and attention to detail has enabled NPS participation in both national and international experimental efforts throughout the Northern hemisphere during her employment.

“She has been singularly responsible for successful design, procurement, programming and deployment of many oceanographic moorings, whose success is demonstrated by the success of the oceanography faculty’s seagoing program of the last 30 years,” the citation read.

Looking back over her three decades Stone reflected on some of her favorite memories from the work and travel that she was involved in during her tenure at NPS.

“From the tropical waters of Dongsha Island in the South China Sea aboard a Taiwanese research vessel, to the crystal blue ice of the Arctic on a Coast Guard Icebreaker to the fjords of Norway on a Navy research ship to the Arches off the tip of Baja California aboard a Mexican research vessel, I feel I have seen it all,” said Stone. “Through it all, my Oceanography Department co-workers have been there to support me with our mutual goals and that has been the best part of my job, working with great people. My work could not have been completed without the wonderful assistance I received from them.”

As Stone departs our campus, she leaves these words of encouragement and advice to her colleagues and friends.

“My two mantras have always been, ‘the devil is in the details and ‘it's all in the presentation,’” said Stone. “I admit to being rather obsessively organized and concerned about the tiniest details for each facet of a project. My co-workers will certainly agree and that's OK. That's how the work gets done properly in the long-run.  I was lucky to have co-workers who tolerated my eccentricities and followed my plan.

“When I board a research vessel, I want every bit of NPS deck equipment and oceanographic instrumentation to be in the best possible condition and ready for immediate use. I want to establish a good relationship with the Bridge, deck crew and other scientists from various institutions. I always tell my co-workers that if it looks like you know what you are doing, the others will think you know what you are doing!  That helps with building good connections and long-term relationships.


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