NORFOLK (NNS) -- Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFF) announced the 2017 USFF Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony hosted by the Hampton Roads Navy League at the Half Moone Cruise Center in Norfolk, March 8.
Naval Air Crewman (Operator) 1st Class John Herrman, of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, was named the 2017 Sea Sailor of the Year and Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Sheldon Hunter, of Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic Det., Patuxent River, was selected as Shore Sailor of the Year.
"You all are the best of the best. When you return to your units, whether you are the Sea or Shore Sailor of the Year, I hope you take back what you learned this week and work diligently at trying to make a better team out of your unit, and all the teams that will make up that unit going forward. Units that are focused on the mission; communicate up, down and across the chain of command; and function and perform as a team are the most successful," said Davidson.
During the ceremony all of the nominees were recognized for their success and awarded Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal.
"First of all I would like to thank the other candidates, I didn't see this week as a competition, but as an opportunity," said Hunter. "Any one of us could have been standing here at this moment and I'm humbled to be selected to represent the Shore Sailor of the Year."
Over the course of the week the candidates participated in board interviews, nomination package reviews, and leadership courses taking place at military installations across the Hampton Roads area. The SOY finalists also participated in tours of local historical landmarks, training at area commands and team-building exercises.
"If I have learned anything through this journey it is that there is nothing exceptional about me. Every step along the way I've been surrounded by exceptional individuals like the people I have the privilege to share the stage with now," said Herrman. "I can tell each and every one of you that I look forward to this career of service because I know these are people that I get to serve with daily."
Herrman will travel to Washington, D.C., and be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer by the chief of naval operations. Hunter will advance to the final selection process for the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year.
The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and then-Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize high-performing E-4 through E-6 Sailors across the fleet. The intent of the competition is to recognize individual Sailors who best represent the ideals of the professional Sailor and the Navy. Initially only Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors on sea duty were recognized. Within 10 years, however, the SOY program was expanded to include shore duty and Navy Reserve Sailors.
Finalists for Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year:
Naval Air Crewman (Operator) 1st Class John Herrman - Patrol Squadron (VP) 16
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Brandon B. Sneyd - Navy Information Operations Command San Diego
Electrionics Technician 1st Class Michael Kugler - Naval Special Warfare Development Group
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Luis Figueroa - USS Detroit (LCS 7)
Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Michael Eaker - Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet, MCC TLAM Det.
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Shaun P. Witt - Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11
Machinist's Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Marshall Evan Ross - USS La Jolla (SSBN 701)
Finalists for Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year:
Personnel Specialist 1st Class Nicole Florent - Navy Expeditionary Combat Command
Yeoman 1st Class David O'leary - Military Sealift Command Det. Far East, Singapore
Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Ronnie F. Byrd - Commander, Naval Surface Squadron 14
Aerographer's Mate 1st Class Pedro J. Henry - Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Professional Development Center
Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Shelldon L. Hunter - Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers, Patuxent River
Logistics Specialist 1st Class Samantha Mincey - Trident Refit Facility, Kings Bay
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