Destroyer Squadron SEVEN’s (DESRON 7) public affairs officer, Lt. Lauren Chatmas, was selected as the recipient of the Thompson-Ravitz Award for U.S. Navy’s Junior Public Affairs Officer of the year for her contributions during calendar year 2020, April 2021.
The series of Thompson-Ravitz Awards for Excellence in Navy Public Affairs promote professional expertise and recognize the most exceptional performance and excellence in public affairs throughout the Navy.
During her time at DESRON 7, Chatmas developed and carried out plans to highlight several important aspects of the command’s mission, in support of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and U.S. 7th Fleet. She emphasized the versatility and flexibility of littoral combat ships deployed to Southeast Asia; the significance of operating and exercising with allied and partnered navies; and the importance of gaining tactical proficiency as Sea Combat Commander (SCC) for Expeditionary Strike Group 7 (ESG 7).
“It is truly humbling to be selected for this award, our community is full of excellent professionals and to even be nominated was a privilege,” said Chatmas. “I owe the success to the support of my leadership and public affairs mentors in 7th Fleet — I’m forever grateful they allowed autonomy and trust to elevate the command’s public affairs program.”
Being forward deployed is full of its own challenges, which were exacerbated by the pandemic over the last year, but that did not deter Chatmas from excelling. As a former Surface Warfare Officer (SWO), Chatmas had a baseline of tactical prowess. To build on that knowledge, she deployed with both ESG 7, embarking in USS America (LHA 6), and Carrier Strike Group 5, aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) for part of their patrols. This allowed her to better understand current fleet operations and use this in routine communications efforts.
“Lauren Chatmas embodies all that we look for in our best public affairs officers, so it is extremely fitting that she was selected for this noteworthy award,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander ESG 7. “Her contributions to Destroyer Squadron 7 to include serving afloat on both forward deployed strike groups in Seventh Fleet demonstrate her unwavering commitment to telling the Navy’s story where it matters most.”
Chatmas will soon depart the region to further her education, working toward a graduate degree in public relations and corporate communications. She will be missed in the region and specifically by her leadership at DESRON 7, as she fills more than just the role of public affairs officer at the command. Her additional responsibilities include coordinating tours to the base and ships, being a member of the command’s resilience team, standing staff tactical watch, and providing mentorship to junior sailors and officers.
“Having Lauren on our staff over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to see her grow as a Naval Officer and a strategic communicator,” said Capt. Tom Ogden, commodore DESRON 7. “Her professionalism and contributions to our command have made a huge impact to our public affairs program, sharing our missions and expanding our reach not only regionally, but globally.”
Chatmas is from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and commissioned as a SWO in 2011. Following two sea tours on USS Porter (DDG 78) and USS Lassen (DDG 82), she was stationed at the Pentagon where she laterally transferred to the Navy’s public affairs community.
As the U.S. Navy’s destroyer squadron forward-deployed in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.