KUWAITI NAVAL BASE, Kuwait --
Captain Jonathan J. Pfuntner, assistant communications officer with the Command Element of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, was awarded the Copernicus Award, a civilian award endorsed by the Marine Corps, at the San Diego Convention Center, Feb. 11.
Pfuntner received the award for his critical efforts in advancing warfighting capabilities and supporting forces in harm's way while he was aboard the USS San Antonio during its operational evaluation in March 2008.
Pfuntner had no idea that he was going to receive the award, said Maj. Roman Vitkovitsky, 26th MEU communications officer.
“Jon (didn’t) know he was even submitted, let alone selected,” Vitkovitsky explained.
The Copernicus award was established in 1997. The name for the award came from the Copernicus Architecture, the Navy's tactical information transfer and processing structure. Copernicus is used as the blueprint for the current and future Command Control Communications Computers and Intelligence (C4I) information structure of the Navy.
Recipients are selected based on their sustained superior performance in a C4I or information technology-related job. The selections are made each year by Navy judges who review applications from the departments of the Navy and Coast Guard, including active duty servicemembers and civilians.
Pfuntner was one of 27 recipients of the award this year and said that he was shocked and honored to be selected for such prestigious recognition.
The 26th MEU is currently in Kuwait conducting wash down as part of the final leg of its 2008-2009 deployment.