NOAA 99-R828
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
9/23/99

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS HONORS
NEW NOAA CORPS DIRECTOR

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc. has honored Rear Admiral Evelyn J. Fields, NOAA Corps, with its prestigious Ralph M. Metcalfe Health, Education and Science Award, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Fields also was the recipient of the Award of Excellence from the Black Women's Agenda during this 29th legislative conference.

Rep. Julian C. Dixon (D-Calif.) and Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) presented the Metcalfe award to Fields during the Caucus's Annual Legislative Conference Awards Dinner. President Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were also present at the event; the President acknowledged Fields' accomplishments in his remarks.

"Receiving these awards from the Congressional Black Caucus means a great deal to me," Fields said. "I've worked very hard to get where I am today, and have had the good fortune to work with and learn from a number of outstanding professionals along the way. I'm both grateful and proud to have this opportunity in my life to do work that affects in a positive way the people of this nation, whether black, white, or of other ethnic origin."

Fields is the recently appointed director of the Office of NOAA Corps Operations and the NOAA Commissioned Corps, the nation's seventh uniformed service. She is the first woman, and the first African American, to hold this position.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an environmental science agency that conducts research and gathers data about the global oceans, atmosphere, space and sun, and applies this knowledge to science and service. The Office of NOAA Corps Operations, composed of civilians and commissioned officers under Fields' leadership, manages and operates NOAA's fleet of research ships and aircraft. In addition to research and monitoring activities critical to NOAA's mission, NOAA ships and aircraft provide immediate response capabilities for unpredictable events. It was a NOAA hydrographic survey ship normally used to chart the ocean floor for nautical maps that located the wreckage of John F. Kennedy Jr.'s missing aircraft.

Fields is a native of Norfolk, Va.