SEA OF JAPAN (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) announced the awardees for Senior Sailor, Sailor, Junior Sailor and Blue Jacket of the Year for the ship, Nov. 3, during a ceremony in the Chiefs Mess.
Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) 1st Class Hugo Echeverritrujillo, from Medellin, Colombia, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class James Gibbens, from Beaverton, Oregon, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dallymae Arce, from Leyte, Philippines, and Air Traffic Controller Airman Connar Jonas, from Ventura, California, all assigned to Nimitz, were awarded Senior Sailor of the Year, Sailor of the Year, Junior Sailor of the Year and Blue Jacket of the Year, respectively.
"To me, the title of Sailor the Year means that I busted my butt during deployment, took care of my junior Sailors and they took care of me, which motivated me to push myself above and beyond what I needed to do to get the job done," said Gibbens.
"It's humbling and I am still trying to digest it," said Echeverritrujillo. "It's a huge command and to be given this opportunity is very humbling."
The Sailors were selected through a rigorous screening process that includes going through oral boards, submitting packages and competing amongst other top-Sailors who work hard every day.
"Hard work, dedication and initiative are needed," said Gibbens. "You don't get Sailor of the Year just handed to you. You have to earn it, because if you are a doing day-to-day routine and just working your normal amount, it won't show you have the initiative to do the extra work that is sometimes needed."
The chain of command in each department select Sailors for this recognition who they think has the potential to stand out amongst some of the best Sailors aboard.
"Within the department, he [Gibbens] was always my go-to guy and he still is," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jennifer Trinidad, leading petty officer for medical department aboard Nimitz, from Stuart, Florida. "There is no question about his ability to turn any project, any aspect of our mission into an accomplishment."
The recipients of the Sailors of the Year regard those that they work with to be involved in their accomplishments as well.
"Be thankful for the person who gave you the opportunity; who gave you a chance to show what you got," said Echeverritrujillo. "Also for the people who made it happen for you such as the Sailors who are down there doing the work, who listen to you and follow you."
Gibbens also added that the people he works for and those who work for him are to be recognized in his accomplishments. By giving him minimal supervision, his chain of command puts a lot of responsibility on him. Their trust in him allows him to have the opportunity to watch over his junior Sailors and make sure they are doing everything correctly.
All of Nimitz' Sailors of the Year work in different departments throughout the ship, but they all have the drive to go above and beyond to do what is needed of them.
Trinidad said Gibbens' work ethic is not driven by awards or acknowledgments. He is the way he is because he enjoys what he does and that aspect about him, that selflessness, is why he makes a great recipient for one of the Sailors of the Year.
The recipients work hard and do so due to their belief in what they do and in the overall goal of the mission and those they serve alongside with.
"I try to project the faith I have in this organization and the people in it because at the end of the day, regardless of what's going on at home, it's the people here that you have for family", said Echeverritrujillo.
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. The U.S. Pacific Fleet has patrolled the Indo-Pacific routinely for more than 70 years promoting regional security, stability and prosperity.
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