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The organization that manages all facets of explosive safety for the Navy and Marine Corps greeted a new commanding officer at a Jan. 31 change of command ceremony at the Village Green and Pavilion in the Town of Indian Head. Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA) said goodbye to Capt. Jason Gilbert, who led the activity since 2011, and welcomed Capt. Todd Siddall, who comes to NOSSA after a tour on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition. Rear Adm. Thomas Kearney, vice commander of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), presided over the ceremony.

Kearney thanked both officers for their service to the country and discussed NOSSA’s critical mission. “Under Jason’s command, NOSSA chairs and provides… the Weapons System Explosive Safety Review Board,” said Kearney. ”This board is the final check for the safety and security of all our weapons systems that operate in an extremely complex and inherently dangerous environment. It comes with a huge responsibility to get it right because it directly affects the safety and wellbeing of all our ships and aircraft, and most importantly, our Sailors.”

Kearney also thanked the “great team” at NOSSA for all they’ve been able to do under Gilbert’s command, such as providing support for the installation of Griffin missiles on coastal ships, surface ship torpedo defense, Littoral Combat Ship deployments, the response of the USS Porter collision in 2013 and the Navy’s first-ever deployment of directed energy weapons.

“NOSSA is the Navy’s weapons and explosives safety and technical authority, providing expertise, policy, oversight and procedures,” said Kearney. “They are on the deck-plate level covering the full spectrum of Navy explosives for safety for ashore and afloat operations. These responsibilities span the lifecycle of weapons systems and explosives, including ordnance environmental support.”

Kearney presented a Legion of Merit to Gilbert in recognition of his outstanding job leading NOSSA. Gilbert, however, spent nearly all of his time at the podium praising members of the activity. “Out of many, one,” said Gilbert. “If I could use a few words and words with historical context to describe NOSSA, that’s how I’d describe NOSSA. We are certainly a team, a team of incredible individuals, though. It’s those individuals that I’d like to recognize. Our folks do incredible things, looking out for the entire Navy and entire Marine Corps when it comes to all things related to explosives and ordnance safety.”

Gilbert went on to thank by name dozens of members of the NOSSA team. “Even though [the Legion of Merit] was given to me, it’s not my award,” he said. “This is an award for NOSSA, a team of individuals.”

Gilbert wished Siddall well as he assumed command. “You’re coming aboard to an amazing command,” said Gilbert. “They’re incredibly capable: Faced with adverse conditions, they will come through. Any challenge is a challenge to be met and overcome here at NOSSA. I know you’ll enjoy your time in [this] command.”

The next chapter of Gilbert’s Navy career will be written in India, where he will serve as a defense attaché. “Thanks to everyone for coming here and spending this amazing day with me and Captain Siddall and our families,” said Gilbert.

Siddall thanked his family for all the support they’ve given to him over the years and praised the professionalism from NOSSA he encountered during his career. “It’s truly amazing the knowledge and seasoned expertise at the command that spans the breadth of the entire Navy,” he said. “It seems like the sun never sets on something NOSSA is doing. Your safety, your mentality, your behind-the-scenes efforts are incredible.”