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Pax River Sailor Recognized as Navy's Top Air Traffic Control Tech

PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- Electronics Technician 2nd Class (SW/AW) Maria Scozzari, serving as a supervisor for Naval Air Station Patuxent River ground electronics division, was recently announced as the Vice Adm. William P. Lawrence Naval Air Traffic Control Technician of the Year recipient. 

The Navywide award recognizes superior performance in support of air traffic control and naval aviation.

Scozzari said equipment repairs aren't optional and that it takes time and patience.

"It may take a while to repair something, but you have to fix it," Scozzari said. "You may have to call the system's designers, they provide support. You can call them up and they'll give us solutions to try. You can't just flip open the tech manual and have the answer right there; that's hardly ever the case. 

"That's the fun part of being an electronics technician," she said. "It's never boring."

As the resident technical expert on Air Traffic Control communications, Scozzari was hand-selected as part of the design and implementation team working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to incorporate NAS Patuxent River into the Optimization of Airspace and Procedures in the Metroplex (OAPM) for the National Capital Region. 

OAPM is a multifaceted presidential level initiative designed to integrate ground based navigational aids from supporting airfields and newly developed routing procedures to improve efficiency and optimize performance in a complex airspace region, or Metroplex.

Despite her many accomplishments, Scozzari credits her success to her fellow Sailors.

"You have to work together," she said. "You can't solve a problem by yourself. There's always people who may have a different way of looking at a problem that you may not have thought of or didn't think to look at in that way."

"Our job can be hectic but I work with a lot of really good people," Scozzari said. "We'll work together to figure out problems, take equipment apart and put it back together again."

Thanks to hard work from Scozzari and her team, NAS Patuxent River will be the first station incorporated into the FAA OAPM. The documentation and processes developed at NAS Patuxent River will serve as the template for all Navy installations incorporating OAPM. 

The Navywide award nominations included Sailors working forward deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, shipboard Sailors, and technicians at other shore installations. It's a tough competition to select the best, but Scozzari's maintenance coordinator says she is a worthy recipient.

"She is an absolutely outstanding Sailor," said Chief Electronics Technician (SW/AW/SCW/FMF) Travis Linzmeyer, NAS Patuxent River 3-M coordinator. "She understands the big picture of what we do here at Pax. She takes a lot of pride in what she does and consistently produces top quality results. It's nice to see her contributions recognized at a national level."

The award is named after Adm. William P. Lawrence who passed away Dec. 2, 2005. Lawrence was the first naval aviator to travel twice the speed of sound, the highest ranking POW during the Vietnam War, a nominee for Project Mercury, and superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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