News | July 31, 2021

Judge Advocate Receives McGinnis Family Award for Outstanding Performance in Fleet Seminar Education

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

Lt. Cmdr. Joseph "JoHo" Horton – who serves as staff judge advocate for Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-West, Camp H.M. Smith, Oahu, Hawaii – was awarded the McGinnis Family Award for Outstanding Performance in Fleet Seminar Education at the U.S. Naval War College Joint Professional Military Education (JPME I) graduation, held June 24, 2021.
 
Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College (NWC) is the oldest institution of its kind in the world.  More than 75,000 students have graduated since the first class of nine students in 1885, and about 300 of today’s active-duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.
 
The award culminates two years of attending the NWC’s Fleet Seminar Program (FSP) and is presented to one FSP JPME I graduate each year who has demonstrated outstanding performance both in and outside the classroom during their tenure within the program.
 
Horton was selected as the top performer out of a competitive class of 270 exceptional JPME I FSP graduates.  
 
“When I received the phone call from Walt Wildemann, NWC’s dean of the College of Distance Education, notifying me that I won, I felt honored, ecstatic, and extremely thankful,” said Horton.
 
In a ceremony held virtually, Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield, NWC president, directed Horton and his fellow graduates to use the transformative power of education.
 
“Your charge now is to commit to the transformative power of education and connect the knowledge you have learned and analyze how we fight, frame problems, develop and assess solutions and build winning teams. This education is just one part of the continuum of learning throughout your career,” said Chatfield.
 
Horton first learned of NWC’s McGinnis Family Award for Outstanding Performance in Fleet Seminar Program when reviewing his Joint Maritime Operations Syllabus after starting the academic regimen in 2019 at the behest of his loving wife, Cmdr. Francine Segovia, Ph.D., MSC, USN.
 
“She reminded me that professional development and the pursuit of knowledge were the pillars of our military profession of arms,” said Horton.
 
Horton is a 2003 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, earning bachelor degrees in both political science and French literature.  He received his commission through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Program.
 
After completing his naval aviation training, Horton reported to Helicopter Combat Support Special Squadron Four (HCS-4) in Norfolk, Va. in July 2006.  He then deployed to Iraq for two tours from September 2007 to February 2009, where he flew more than 200 combat hours for Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component-Arabian Peninsula.  He left active duty in July 2009 to attend Boston College Law School. He entered the Naval Drilling Reserves as a Helicopter Aircraft Commander in Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Eight Four (HSC-84) in September 2009.
 
Horton was accepted into the Navy's JAG Corps Student Program and re-commissioned an Ensign in May 2011.  A year later, he earned his Juris Doctor and later that year gained admission to both the New York and Massachusetts state bars.  While waiting to attend the Basic Lawyer Course, Horton served as the Veterans' Services Advocate for Norfolk County in Dedham, Mass.  He reported to Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Southwest in April 2013, where he completed the first tour judge advocate program. In June 2015, Horton transferred to RLS Japan's Branch Office in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan where he served as the sole legal assistance attorney until June 2017 and as staff judge advocate until June 2018.
 
For Horton, juggling career, course work, and commitment to community service these past two years meant sacrificing most nights and many weekends in order to complete the voluminous homework the course requires.  Despite the workload and social sacrifices, Horton persevered, and credits those who supported him throughout his academic journey.
 
“To my wife, Francine, who sacrificed fun-filled weekends and many a late night with me and encouraged me to start and complete JPME; to my professors who allowed me the space to create and defend my positions, to my classmates who demonstrated humor and restraint in collaboration and permitting my ‘soap box’ moments, and my command for entrusting me with professional opportunities that led to positive outcomes, Mahalo!” said Horton. “I could not have done it without them. And to Lt. Cmdr. Luciana Stamper, who received the honor in 2020, thanks for setting the bar.”