College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) alum Kelvin N. Dixon, M.S. in Management, ’05, is at the forefront of the U.S. Naval presence in Iraq. Dixon’s work was recently revealed in a feature story in the New York Times, “Echoes of ‘Top Gun’ at Iraq’s Navy Day Ceremonies,” by Michael Schmidt, which focused on Naval operations in Iraq and training operations there to turn over jurisdiction to the Iraqi forces.
“Today they (Iraqis) are patrolling and protecting the oil terminals extremely well, better than anticipated,” Rear Admiral Dixon said. “They are doing better than some of their neighbors in the region.” He said Iraqis currently patrol 80 percent of their waterways, and will take over the remaining 20 percent shortly. Then, through the end of this year, the U.S. Navy will act in an advisory role.
With about 90 percent of the Iraqis’ budget coming from the sale of oil, this work is crucial. The Navy is in charge of protecting the two oil platforms in the Persian Gulf where 75 percent of the country’s oil imports are loaded onto tankers. “An attack on the oil platforms would be devastating for Iraq because so much of its economy is tied to oil sales,” Dixon said. “We continue to train Iraqi Navy in intelligence areas and operational areas, and nighttime operations of oil platforms. And they continue 24-hour protection of platforms.”
Dixon, a career naval officer who grew up in Tampa, Fla., found his way to CSE via Washington. It was there, in 2000, that a chance encounter with a fellow Navy man chartered his journey to landlocked Morris County, N.J.
At the time he began his CSE graduate studies, Dixon was in the reserves as well as director of safety, health and risk management at General Chemical Corporation. “The program provided me with much needed flexibility given my civilian job and my responsibilities in the Navy Reserves,” Dixon said. “Being Catholic, I was also attracted by the mission and values of the College and the Sisters of Charity. Dixon, who with his wife Monica calls Rockaway, N.J. home, received his commission as Rear Admiral late this past summer, and then shipped off to Iraq to help train Iraqi forces. His education helped prepare him for this and other career roles. “As it turned out, the things I learned in management nicely complemented my engineering and technical background. I also learned a lot from my fellow students who worked in many different companies located throughout New Jersey.”
Dixon entered the Navy in 1981 through the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program at Prairie View A&M University in Texas, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering. His Naval career encompasses eight command tours; participation in Desert Shield and Desert Storm as operations officer for the United Nations Mission in Kuwait; protecting shipping in the Persian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom; and, chief of biometrics, headquartered in Baghdad from October 2008 to 2009.