WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's 2014 Sailors of the Year (SOY) were meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer during a ceremony held at the Navy Memorial, May 14.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert served as guest speaker at the pinning ceremony hosted by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens.
The four Sailors of the Year honored at the ceremony are: Construction Mechanic 1st Class Jimie Bartholomew, representing U.S. Navy Reserve; Steel Worker 1st Class Brenton Heisserer, representing U.S. Navy Shore; Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Joe Mendoza representing U.S. Fleet Forces; and Logistics Specialist 1st Class Blanca Sanchez, representing U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Before introducing CNO as the guest speaker, MCPON shared some history of the tradition that the Sailor of the Year program has become.
"For those of you that may not be aware, The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Jack Whittet, to honor those who best represented the ever-growing group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and ultimately for the entire Navy," said Stevens. "When the program began, only the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors were recognized. But within ten years, the Sailor of the Year program was expanded to include the shore establishments and Navy Reserve Sailors. I am proud to say that 43 years later we continue this proud tradition of honoring these Sailors."
CNO began by thanking the SOYs for their dedication - a dedication that is now being justly rewarded.
"Congratulations to our selectees I'm very proud to be here today and I'm very proud of you," said Greenert. "For those of us who are serving and nearing the twilight of our career, we wonder about the future and will people be here ready to stand up. And you represent, as you know, a whole host of Sailors who are out there who will take the mantle, and it makes us feel very good about our future in the Navy and in our military, so once again, thank you."
Greenert also took a moment to remind the SOYs to be grateful for their families - 'the wind beneath their wings' and noted a shared unique characteristic of the 2014 Sailors of the Year - they are all representatives of the Navy's expeditionary community.
"It shows you how our Navy is evolving - expeditionary ratings are our Sailors of the Year," said Greenert. "It's a natural progression to who we are today and [it shows] as we look out to the future, the significance of these ratings and what they do, and how all Sailors have a very important part in what we do."
Before the SOYs had their anchors pinned to their collars and combination covers placed on their heads, Greenert offered a piece of advice, reminding them of the gravity of the responsibility entrusted in them as deckplate leaders.
"My only advice is - you've always wondered 'will someone please listen to me?' Well let me tell you folks, they are now, said Greenert. "Everything you say."
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