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Released March 1, 2004


STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- Four graduates of The University of Southern Mississippi's Hydrographic Science Program were among those recently honored by the United States Navy for outstanding performance in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom during a recent hydrographic survey in Iraq.

Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Gilless, Lt. Richard "Kitch" Kennedy Jr., and Giovanni Morris, graduates of the Southern Miss class of 2003, and Glen Carson, graduate of the Southern Miss class of 2002, recently joined other volunteers from the U. S. Naval Oceanographic Office onboard the USNS Henson to complete a detailed hydrographic survey of the Khawr Abd Allah and Khawr Az Zubayr waterways and the ports Umm Qasr and Az Zubayr in Iraq.

The team received a "Bravo Zulu," or job well done, from Vice Admiral David Nichols, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command/Commander, Fifth Fleet, saying that the Henson hydrographic survey crew set a new standard of excellence for coastal survey operations while responding to immediate fleet requirements.

"Without question, the products derived from your superb effort will improve our ability to safely conduct naval and humanitarian assistance operations," Nichols said.

In February, Capt. Philip Renaud, commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, presented the survey team with on-the-spot awards.

"NAVOCEANO has been striving for this recognition, and its validation sets a new standard of excellence," Renaud said. "It is a clear example of NAVOCEANO's efforts to improve relevancy and responsiveness."

"The University of Southern Mississippi's hydrography program was designed to take hydrographic education to a higher level," said David Dodd, coordinator of the Hydrographic Science Program at Southern Miss. "We're very proud of our graduates and the skills they can now bring to bear in operational hydrography around the world."

Four years ago, Southern Miss began an advanced degree program in hydrographic science, the study of mapping the sea floor. Based at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Miss., the first Southern Miss hydrographic science class graduated in August 2000. The latest graduating class in 2003 brought the total of Southern Miss students to graduate with master of science degrees in hydrographic science to 45.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM