NEW LONDON, Conn. – A Navy Diver and instructor at Naval Submarine School (SUBSCOL) was awarded Service Person of the Month (SPOM) by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut (the Chamber) and the Rotary Club for his outstanding volunteer work in the community.
A native of Bedford, Texas, Navy Diver 2nd Class Michael Felton joined the Navy for the opportunities and camaraderie that comes with military life.
“There are many different facets to being a Navy Diver,” said Felton. “Salvage operations, underwater ships husbandry and special warfare support. This is my second command since becoming a diver. My first command was at Naval Submarine Support Facility where I performed Underwater Ships Husbandry work on the subs. Here at SUBSCOL I serve as a high risk training instructor at the submarine escape trainer, where we help students to understand the procedures involved in submarine escape, and facilitate pressurized training.”
Dara Wicken, a representative of the Chamber, elaborated further on Felton’s duties at SUBSCOL.
“Petty Officer Felton is an outstanding instructor at Naval Submarine School,” said Wicken. “He rapidly qualified in eight Pressurized Submarine Escape Trainer (PSET) positions within his first six months onboard becoming a major team member to Naval Submarine Base’s High-Risk Training Division. He accomplished 221 student and staff training dives with 78 hours of incident-free bottom time, leading to the completion of 331 successful high-risk buoyant free ascents and delivered 550 instructional hours to over 1,327 initial accession and fleet level students. Additionally, he took over the Work Center Supervisor position managing 19 divers in the maintenance and repair of six certified pressure vessels and ancillary diving equipment allowing for uninterrupted student and staff training.”
A hard charger, Felton makes the most of his time both on and off duty by volunteering in the local community, representing the Navy. This was what set him apart from others and earned him November 2019’s SPOM.
“Petty Officer Felton exemplified Navy core values throughout the community performing 51 hours of service,” said Wicken. “He volunteered at the New London Maritime Heritage Festival to promote the Navy and demonstrate the diving community for the local Groton/New London area. He prepared farm-shared food containers for Stone Acres Farm in Stonington, Connecticut, benefiting local restaurants and residents. He was a safety swimmer at the New London Penguin Plunge supporting the Special Olympics.”
Receiving the award along with various prizes from members of the Chamber, Felton expressed his appreciation for the honor.
“I was surprised and grateful, I actually wasn’t aware I had been nominated until shortly before I received it,” said Felton. “I would like to thank the New London Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce for hosting the event, my chain of command for supporting me, and most of all my wife because she provides more service to the community than I do in my opinion.”
SPOM is organized by the Chamber and local Rotary and Lions Clubs to honor local military personnel of all branches who not only excel in their regular duties, but also go above and beyond through volunteer service to the community.