From Djibouti safely back to NPU

Utility recognized by U.S. Navy for support of active duty employee following his deployment
to Djibouti for nearly a year.

When Eric McDermott, the Electric Operations Integrity Manager for Norwich Public Utilities (NPU), was called from reserve to active duty by the United States Navy, he knew that he would be making a number of adjustments.

Eric would become full-time Commander McDermott and deployed to the Republic of Djibouti, a country located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. He would be responsible for Task Group 68-6, which included 150 personnel and seven patrol boats.

He would also be apart from his wife Sarah and his children Tyler (7), and twins Emma and Hanna (4) for a year. And he would require a long-term leave of absence from NPU to fulfill his military obligations for twelve months.

McDermott left in March of 2018 and returned to NPU in late March of 2019. During his full-time military service, NPU paid the differential between his Navy and NPU salaries for the duration of his deployment. When his service was completed, he returned to his job and resumed all of his responsibilities.

“My deployment was an exciting and challenging opportunity for me as a Naval officer but it came with a huge impact on my family life and required a significant sacrifice by my wife,” said McDermott. “But knowing I would be fully supported by NPU in my absence made it much easier for me and my family while I was away.”

During the May NPU Board meeting, McDermott presented NPU with a commendation that includes a flag that was flown above one of McDermott’s boat as it provided escort and defense of the USNS Henry J. Kaiser, a fleet replenishment oiler.

McDermott safely returned to the United States and NPU and is now fully re-engaged in his duties – working on all facets of NPU’s electric, transmission, distribution and generation equipment and operations. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a degree in marine engineering and received an MBA from the University of New Haven.

“NPU has always been committed to our employees, our community and the United States, so we were proud to support Eric in any way that we could during his deployment,” said Chris LaRose, Acting General Manager of NPU. “While it is nice for NPU to be recognized by the Navy, our entire organization thanks Eric and his family for the sacrifices they have made for our country.”