Local seaman earns Navy honor for extra effort

Contributed Seaman Chris Barton of Norwich drives the USS Gerald R. Ford in late November. 

Chris Barton of Norwich was recognized by the United States Navy last month for outstanding service to his department. 

The 20-year-old seaman joined the Navy in November 2018, and serves in the deck department of the USS Gerald R. Ford, he said.

Barton got the "Wolverine of the Day," so named because ship members refer to themselves as wolverines. Someone new gets it everyday depending on the impact they had on their department, he said. 

Though his work day usually ends around 3 p.m., Barton said he sometimes stayed up as late as 10 p.m. doing extra paint work and assisting with computer access. As a member of the deck department, he is responsible for general maintenance of the ship including handling life jackets, splicing lines, and standing watch when underway, he said. 

"Lightening the workload of everyone else in my department is what my goal was," Barton said. "I think that to me, doing a little bit of that extra work slightly boosted the morale in that department just because they didn't have to do that much more work that I did myself." 

Barton said he joined the Navy to help with schooling, planning to go for welding, and for the experience. 

Currently stationed at the Norfolk naval base in Virginia, he said he usually gets 10 days of leave around Christmas and the New Year. He said he missed Christmas last year because he was in boot camp, but was glad he didn't have to miss this one and could see his family. 

"They constantly tell me how much they're proud and how much they miss me," Barton said. "It's nice, I just wish I could see them more."

Barton downplayed his achievement, saying he just did what he was supposed to do quickly, effectively and properly. 

"It just felt really good being recognized for helping out the department," Barton said, noting that not many people get recognition since everyone does so much. "When I got that award it just made me feel really good that I actually did something important, that I actually did something to help both the department and the country."

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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