Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, was awarded the 2023 North Carolina State University College of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award in a ceremony held on campus, Wednesday, Oct. 25.
“NC State was the chemical reaction that acted as a catalyst for my journey to success,” said Caudle, who beamed with Wolfpack pride while accepting the award.
“North Carolina State University runs in my blood, forever part of me, as it will be for the current students roaming these halls.” He added, “This campus is where Legacies begin.”
Caudle, a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, graduated from NC State in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering.
The Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award was established in 1966 to honor graduates for outstanding achievements in engineering, fostering professional development for young engineers, contributing to knowledge in the field of engineering, and bringing distinction to the university through engineering achievement.
In addition to Caudle, two other prestigious NC State alumni were honored at the event; Deborah Bell, the first black woman to earn a civil engineering Bachelor of Science degree from the university in 1977 and Robert Troxler from the class of 1983 who holds more than 80 U.S. and international patents.
“You make us proud, and you add to the College’s forward momentum,” said Jim Pfaendtner, Dean of the College of Engineering. “You have a lifetime connection to this college and university. In the spirit of Homecoming Weekend, I hope you always feel welcome to return home to your alma mater.”
Over the course of Caudle’s nearly 40-year naval career, he has held numerous leadership positions around the world, most in the submarine community. Today, as the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, the proud NC State alum oversees more than 118,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, 125 ships and 1,100 aircraft, providing combat-ready forces around the globe.
“My team protects America and our homeland from attack and is always ready to go forward to defend our interests around the world, and if needed, to fight and win,” said Caudle during his remarks. “That grit, that tenacity, that strong will – those traits that my team brings to bear every day were learned right here on this campus during those pivotal years.”
This isn’t the first time Caudle has been recognized for his contributions to the university. In 2020, Caudle was named a Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Distinguished Alumnus and in 2024, he was invited to return to Raleigh to speak on leadership, strategic thinking and risk management as part of the university’s Centennial Seminar Series.
“There is no finer environment in the world that could have prepared me for naval service and developed my passion for truly understanding ‘the why’ behind complex problems any better,” said Caudle.
Caudle’s military career includes sea tours on the USS George Washington Carver (SSBN 656), USS Stonewall Jackson (SSBN 634), USS Sand Lance (SSN 660), USS Montpelier (SSN-765), USS Jefferson City (SSN 759), USS Topeka (SSN-754), USS Helena (SSN-725), and Submarine Squadron 3. His tours ashore include assignments with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Moored Training Ship, Submarine Squadron 11, Joint Staff (J-5), and U.S. Pacific Fleet.