Select Page

National Museum of the Surface Navy Names Dr. Gladys West Recipient of Inaugural Freedom of the Seas Exploration and Innovation Award

SAN PEDRO, Calif. – August 7, 2023 – The National Museum of the Surface Navy, founded aboard Battleship USS Iowa and scheduled to open in 2025, today named Dr. Gladys West the recipient of the first annual Freedom of the Seas Exploration and Innovation Award. The award is presented to an individual who embodies the spirit to propel society beyond its limits, pioneering research and developing technologies that impact the knowledge and capabilities of people around the world.



Dr. West began her career in 1956 as the second African American woman hired and one of only four African American employees in total at the Naval Proving Ground. During her 42 years of service at what became Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren, Dr. West played an integral role in the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS). Her work on satellite geodesy and other satellite measurements contributed to the accuracy of GPS. Prior to retiring in 1998, Dr. West served as project manager and received a commendation for her work on the radar altimetry data processing project of Seasat, the first satellite designed for the remote sensing of the Earth’s oceans.

“Dr. Gladys West is the ideal recipient of the first Freedom of the Seas Innovation and Exploration Award, and we look forward to recognizing her and her accomplishments at this year’s annual gala,” explained retired Navy Rear Admiral Mike Shatynski, Chairman of the Board of the National Museum of the Surface Navy. “Dr. West’s accomplishments over her long and distinguished career certainly exemplify the spirit of this prestigious award.”

Dr. West holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Virginia State University, a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Virginia Tech.

To read the entire press release, please click the button below.


Interested in becoming a sponsor for this event? Contact our development team.

Site developed by Wicked Code, Inc. and funded by The Edward E. & Marie L. Matthews Foundation •  Photos by Rick Stipa Photography
Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

Board & Crew Portal