Kevin Warkentin is Atlantic Fleet engineer of year

Kevin Warkentin
Staff Photo |

It might have been a sign of his future when Kevin Warkentin was honored for not missing a single day of school while growing up in Glenwood Springs.

That sort of thing takes discipline and desire that might fit well into a military career.

In fact, Warkentin went directly into the U.S. Navy after his 2007 graduation from Glenwood Springs High School, moving into the nuclear engineering program. And last month, he was honored as engineer of the year for Naval Air Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

That’s no small operation. The command includes seven nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, four carrier air wings, a strike fighter wing, a patrol and reconnaissance group, a maritime patrol wing and two helicopter wings encompassing 80 squadrons, more than 1,000 aircraft and 40,000 personnel.

Warkentin’s award “recognizes contributions to force readiness made by engineering personnel aboard aircraft carriers. Every year, each carrier nominates an enlisted candidate … deserving of the title,” the USS Harry Truman, Warkentin’s ship, said in a blog post.

Warkentin is the reactor training leading petty officer aboard the Harry Truman.

“Petty Officer Warkentin is the type of sailor we want leading sailors,” said Master Chief Machinist Mate Cindy Huratiak, who nominated Warkentin for the honor. “He gets his hands dirty and teaches the younger sailors to do the same, and they follow.”

Warkentin said in the Navy blog post he was very surprised.

“I really can’t believe I won the award,” said Warkentin. “I couldn’t have done it without the love and support from my wife, the crew in the pipe shop, the welding shop, and finally, but not least, everyone in my work center.”

His mother, Cindy Warkentin of Glenwood, said her son knew in middle school that he wanted to go into the military.

“He was always into math and science,” and scored very well on a military aptitude test when he was a junior in high school, setting him on the course to the Navy’s nuclear engineering track. His leadership also showed in high school, when he was a Youth Zone mentor, she said. He also played basketball for the Glenwood High Demons.

At age 26, he’s one of the youngest recipients of the top engineer award, his mother said.

Warkentin’s last visit to Glenwood Springs was for his wedding in July 2014, Mom said. Dedicated to the Navy, he married a woman he met in the nuclear training program.

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