Admiral Earns Executive Excellence Award from Hispanic Engineers
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
ANAHEIM, Calif., Oct. 8, 2005 The commander of the Naval Safety Center was recognized here Oct. 7 as one of the nation's best and brightest engineers and scientists during the 17th Annual Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Awards Conference.
Navy Rear Adm. George E. Mayer encourages the youth of America, especially Hispanic youth, to seize every educational opportunity offered them. Mayer was presented the military executive excellence award during the 17th Annual Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Awards Conference in Anaheim, Calif., Oct. 7. Photo by Rudi Williams
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Navy Rear Adm. George E. Mayer received the program's military executive excellence award.
With the theme of "A Future Powered by Imagination," the four-day conference recognized the outstanding accomplishments of Hispanic professionals in the fields of engineering, science, technology and mathematics. The conference brought universities, corporations, the military and all levels of government together to celebrate excellence within the Hispanic community.
"While growing up in Puerto Rico in the 1960s, I wasn't sure of what I would do as I got older," said Mayer, one of only two Hispanic flag officers in the Navy. "My family took me to the airport in San Juan, and my father worked there. The sight of the aircraft taking off and landing every day captured my imagination."
He said that powered his desire to do something that at the time seemed only a distant dream. "My father recognized my dreams and told me if I wanted to be a pilot, I should fly with the best - the U.S. Navy," the admiral said. "I was told that to become a Navy pilot would take hard work and dedication. But a quick trip to the Naval Academy was all I needed. I was sold on the Navy and naval aviation. And 30 years later, I'm fortunate to have fulfilled those dreams.
"In this country, we have all been given the gift of freedom, and with that gift comes opportunity," said he continued. "In America, the opportunity to succeed is always there."
Saying he would be remiss if he didn't recognize those who have made the opportunities possible, Mayer thanked "the Hispanic American men and women who have come before us, and more specifically, the men and women serving in the armed forces today. Without them none of us would have the opportunities to succeed and to live free as we do." The admiral dedicated his award to them, "especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that all of us can be free," he said.
Mayer thanked HENAAC for honoring him and the Navy for nominating him for the award. "I am fortunate to have spent over 30 years working for the U.S. Navy, an organization that recognizes and values diversity, provides us ample educational opportunities and rewards hard work and dedication," he said.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975, he pursued additional academic instruction in aerodynamic principles and flight tactics to achieve his dream of becoming a jet pilot. Today, Mayer is qualified in two high-performance jet aircraft, with more than 4,000 flight hours and more than 1,000 carrier landings. He was first qualified in the A-7 Corsair aircraft and later qualified in the F-18 Hornet, the nation's first strike-fighter.
"I am proud to be an American and to live in a country that thrives on diversity and offer its citizens unlimited opportunities to succeed," said Mayer, who holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in national security and strategic studies.
"I encourage the youth of America, especially our Hispanic youth, to seize every educational opportunity that is offered to them, especially in the technical and engineering fields, as they are pathways to a future," the admiral said.