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News | March 5, 2021

Judge Advocate Receives Leadership Award

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

In November 2020, Lt. Martin Bunt accepted a Leadership Award for his work in 2019 as a Deputy Command Judge Advocate aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). He received this accolade from The Navy & Marine Association, which annually sponsors more than 400 awards presented to service members by the commanders of Naval Air Forces, Naval Surface Forces, and U.S. Marine Forces Atlantic and Pacific, as well as the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

The recipients of the Leadership Awards are peer-selected. To be recognized, awardees must demonstrate excellence in leadership by setting an outstanding example, motivating subordinates, and enforcing the highest standards. They must have a proven knowledge of their personnel and demonstrate the highest ideals of honesty, integrity, and inspirational leadership.

Specifically, Bunt received one of the awards designated for a junior officer or chief warrant officer aboard one of Commander, Naval Air Forces’ aircraft carriers (CVN).

“This award is not about me, but rather a reflection of the hard work the ship’s legal division accomplished during my tour, and I cannot thank them enough,” said Bunt. “The legal division on a CVN is not usually the favored candidate to win a popularity contest, given the issues we have to deal with every day.”

“However, my team and I worked hard to foster and sustain a positive perception of the work we did amongst other members of the ship. Our top goal was to always find solutions to the issues brought to our shop by every member of the command,” Bunt added.

The legal division aboard the Stennis also included Lt. Cmdr. Theresa Champ, Chief Legalman Crystal Price, Legalman 1st Class Joshua Boga, Legalman 2nd Class Justin Taylor, and Legalman 2nd Class Roberto Pedroza. In addition to his main duties, Bunt had several collateral duties, including serving on the bridge team as Officer of the Deck and standing in-port watch as an Assistant Command Duty Officer.

Bunt graduated from Samford University in 2011 and from Emory University School of Law in 2014. During his time at Emory, he co-founded the Emory Law Volunteer Clinic for Veterans. He is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Florida.

He commissioned in the Navy in 2014 through the JAG Corps Student Program. Following the completion of the Basic Lawyer Course at Naval Justice School in December 2014, Bunt completed his first tour of judge advocate rotations with Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Southeast and Defense Service Office Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida, from 2014 to 2017.

In 2017, Bunt reported aboard RLSO Japan as the branch head of the legal office at Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia. During that tour, he assisted in the USS John McCain (DDG-56) collision investigations and personnel claims process onboard DDG-56.

After that tour, Bunt reported aboard the Stennis, and he completed a seven-month, around-the-world, deployment and a homeport shift from Bremerton, Wash., to Norfolk, Va.

“The fact that I have been recognized by my peers on the ship for the hard work that my team and I have done is humbling and a measure of our success,” said Bunt. “I’m proud to have had a chance to serve on the Stennis in an incredible division.”

“There are a lot of great junior officers in my category that I served alongside for legal, bridge, and in-port duties in 2019 while our ship was in work-ups and deployment. To get chosen from this group is an incredible honor,” added Bunt.

Bunt currently serves as an admiralty law attorney in Code 11 at the Office of the Judge Advocate General. He is one of three action officers handling admiralty and maritime law claims involving Navy assets.

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