In recognition of outstanding achievement as a Naval Engineer in the United States Navy and in industry following retirement from active duty.
Rear admiral Sonenshein's thirty-six year career in the Navy spanned an era that began on the eve of World War II and lasted into the seventies. It was characterized by a consistently high standard of professional excellence and achievement.
He was decorated for distinguished performance as Chief Engineer of a carrier during the Korean War. Later assignments in the Bureau of Ships included that of Director of Ship Design. After selection to Flag rank, he was chosen as one of the Navy's first Project Managers. This project led the design of the Fast Deployment Logistics ship, which portended today's Rapid Deployment Force. In its design, Admiral Sonenshein successfully pioneered a new approach which quantified for the first time, top level mission requirements and translated them into ship design parameters to achieve the optimum functional performance.
At the peak of hostilities in Southeast Asia, a period marked by tremendous strain on material, personnel and time resources, Admiral Sonenshein was selected to be Commander, Naval Ship Systems Command. His leadership during this period was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Navy.
Since retiring from the Navy in 1974, Admiral Sonenshein has been Assistant to the President of Global Marine Development, Inc. He has been active in the planning, execution and study of advanced ocean engineering projects, from ocean thermal energy conversion to deep sea mining, drilling and salvage, and most notably, seabed disposal of radioactive wastes. His numerous roles as consultant to Government agencies, institutions and various forums are reflective of his prodigious capacity, energy and expertise.
These contributions and his lifelong dedication to the highest standards of professionalism, personal character and national service, make our Past-President, Rear Admiral Sonenshein, eminently qualified to be the next recipient of the Harold E. Saunders Award.