Vail native Amanda Huntoon Gray earns another Navy honor |

Vail native Amanda Huntoon Gray earns another Navy honor

Amanda Huntoon Gray named Mass Communications Specialist of the Year

Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Amanda Gray, from Vail, assigned to Submarine Group 9, receives the The Russell Egnor Navy Media Award for 2018 Mass Communication Specialist of the Year from Capt. John Fancher, Submarine Group 9 chief of staff, during an awards ceremony.
U.S. Navy Photo by Lt. Mack Jamieson

BANGOR, Washington – Vail native Amanda Huntoon Gray should be accustomed to Navy brass making a fuss over her accomplishments, but she isn’t.

Submarine Group 9 honored Gray, a mass communication specialist 1st Class as the 2018 Mass Communication Specialist of the Year, one of the Navy’s Russell Egnor Navy Media Awards.

Mass communication specialists present the Navy’s story using a variety of media.

“I am still in disbelief,” Gray said. “I am pleased, honored and humbled for this recognition. I feel so honored to join the past recipients who I have admired and respected.”

Gray was named the Submarine Group 9 Shore Sailor of the Year in December.
“It is incredible to be recognized for the work that I have done, but I was only successful because of the people I have worked with and the amazing leaders who have helped me along the way,” Gray said.

The Navy’s mass communications program focuses on journalism, photography, videography and graphic arts.

“I love being able to tell the Navy’s story and serve my country every single day,” Gray said.

Gray grew up in Vail and was a star performer with the Vail Valley Academy of Dance. She graduated Battle Mountain High School in 2003 and earned her bachelor’s degree in English writing from the University of Colorado at Denver. At 25, she joined the Navy and became the assistant public affairs officer for the Pacific Northwest submarine force in 2015.

Boomers beneath the waves

Gray works with the Navy’s ballistic missile submarines, often referred to informally as “boomers.” They are undetectable launch platforms for intercontinental ballistic missiles. They are designed for stealth, extended patrols and precise missile delivery. They are the only survivable leg of the nation’s strategic nuclear forces, which also include land-based missiles and aircraft.

“There is a camaraderie among the submarine force that I’ve never seen anywhere else in the Navy, and I really enjoy being a part of that. I am honored to be able to tell their story,” she said.

She has impressed her officers with her professionalism and a drive.

“Our command has been better for having (her) and we look forward to watching her continued success in the future,’ Capt. John Fancher, Submarine Group 9 chief of staff said in announcing Gray’s latest award.

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