The American Society of Naval Engineers selected Lt. Eric Fields, chief engineer aboard USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), as its Engineer of the Quarter Nov. 12.
Serving aboard since December 2019, Fields has led the Bulkeley engineering team through many successful evolutions. He has consistently demonstrated a superior performance of his duties, also being a driving force in the restoration of combat systems and engineering plant testing plans during an extended maintenance availability.
“I would like to say I could have done this alone, but every Sailor in the department has brought us the success that we have seen,” said Fields. “Without their tireless effort, expert knowledge, and sage council I would not have succeeded in the way I have. This has always been a team effort so this award goes out to the entire department.”
As chief engineer, he has led a team of roughly 90 Sailors in the maintenance, upkeep, and modernization of the main propulsion plant, electrical system, auxiliaries equipment, and all damage control systems. During the ship’s complex destroyer modernization, he displayed unparalleled technical knowledge and sound leadership becoming the cornerstone of a successful transition from production work to the testing phase.
“Lt. Fields exemplifies excellence as a professional surface warfare officer and engineer,” said Cmdr. Luis Gonzalez, Bulkeley commanding officer. “His unparalleled work rate, ability to delve into the details, and unwavering commitment to mission success are only rivaled by his genuine concern for his Sailors. He is a force multiplier on the deckplates, bringing passion and energy to everything engineering tackles from routine maintenance and emergent repairs to damage control and casualty drills. He has made a difference on Bulkeley and in the ‘Wolfpack,’ turning junior, inexperienced technicians into a first-rate, highly functioning and proficient team!”
Fields’ many achievements during the quarter included skillful coordination with BAE-Norfolk Ship Repair and Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) teams for completion of extensive repairs to the electrical distribution system. This saved the Navy millions of dollars for which he was lauded by MARMC, the ship’s Immediate Superior in Charge (ISIC), and Naval Surface Force Atlantic leadership. In execution of Bulkeley’s Shipboard Gage Calibration Program Certification, he received praise from Naval Sea Systems Command as “the best program evaluated in eight years.”
Additionally, Fields led shipboard systems restoration efforts, overseeing the completion of more than 1,000 work items, as well as numerous quality assurance check points.
“I have a large sense of pride just being a part of the engineering underworld,” added Fields. “Snipes around the fleet consistently give all their effort in a way that is hard to grasp until you become a part of it. Working drills and evolutions, numerous maintenances through the night to get two turning and four burning, to provide maximum combat capabilities is not a task to be taken lightly. To be recognized against those who put forth that same effort is a great honor.”
Homeported in Norfolk, USS Bulkeley is named after Medal of Honor recipient Rear Adm. John D. Bulkeley, a man of “extraordinary heroism” who served in both the Pacific and Atlantic during World War II. In 1944, during the Normandy invasion, he led Patrol Torpedo Boat 102 Squadron. He directed torpedo boats and minesweepers in clearing a path to Utah Beach, during which time he charged in with one working gun, simultaneously engaging two enemy vessels at point-blank range, sinking both. Afterwards, while pulling both British and German sailors out of the water, his only explanation was, “What could I do? You engage, you fight, you win.”