VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (NNS) -- Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) named its Sea, Shore and Reserve Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a luncheon Feb. 10.
The top Sailors to advance to the next level of competition are the following: Navy Diver 1st Class (EXW/DSW) Kyle Hubbard, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit (EODTEU) 1, NECC Pacific Shore Sailor of the Year; Construction Mechanic 1st Class (SCM/AW) Jeremy Harris, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3, NECC Pacific Sea Sailor of the Year; Logistics Specialist 1st (EXW/SW/AW) Norma Porter, assigned to Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG), NECC Shore Sailor of the Year; Construction Mechanic 1st Class (SCW/EXW) Michael Steffey, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, NECC Sea Sailor of the Year, and Equipment Operator 1st Class (SCW) Steven Butterhof, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 27, NECC Reserve Sailor of the Year.
Rear Adm. Frank Morneau, commander, NECC addressed the Sailors during the luncheon and congratulated them on their successes in reaching this point in the competition.
"When you become the number one Sailor in a Command, let alone one of our Groups, that's an enormous compliment to your hard work, dedication to the mission and commitment to your fellow Sailors. As military professionals it is up to us to do everything in our power to enable success," said Morneau, who added that his two favorite times of the year are Chief's pinning and recognizing the best Sailors in our Force during Sailor of the Year competitions.
Morneau praised the Sailors for their character and drive to be the very best they can be.
"We have been talking about the 'Fighting Power' of our Units, which characterizes all Sailors in a command continually striving to achieve excellence. All of you have demonstrated you are committed to being the best Sailor you can be," said Morneau. "Be proud of yourselves, your shipmates and your profession."
Force Master Chief Lance Kitchens added that it was an honor to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with these great Americans who represent the expeditionary forces.
"They represent our force to the utmost of what is expected of them and they produce every day," said Kitchens. "They typify exceptional leadership, personal appearance, devotion to duty."
Each of the Sailors of the Year were in agreement that they were shocked when their names were called.
"I was pretty shocked because everyone here is super squared away, so it was definitely a humbling moment for me," said Hubbard.
"I had to repeat it to myself a few times that they actually said the PACFLT SEA SOY was me," said Harris. "I think my Master Chief nudged me to get up to move. Walking up to the podium and even thinking about what I was going to say was jargon in my head, but I just had to regain focus and enjoy the moment. It's an unbelievable feeling."
Butterhof, NECC Reserve Sailor of the Year, will take lessons learned back to his unit to share with his junior Sailors.
"There was a lot of stiff competition in my category," said Butterhoff, but added that all of the lessons he learned throughout this competition he said he would definitely pay it forward."
Steffey praised leadership up and down the chain of command for assisting him on his journey.
"It's a group effort. You don't get to this type of accomplishment without the help of your mentors, those who have worked hard for you and your family that has supported you all the way through," said Steffey.
Porter added how the Sailor of the Year announcement was better than the Super Bowl.
"It was an amazing opportunity! It's a great feeling to know that my peers are forward thinkers, optimists and have great ideas," said Porter, who added that she invited her command's Junior Sailor of the Year and the most junior Sailor from her division to the ceremony. "I want them to see they can be here too."
All of the winners will now go on to the next level of competition at their respective geographical locations.
The Navy's SOY program was initially established in 1972 and modified throughout the years to include the Navy Enlisted Reservist of the Year (inactive). The program recognizes one Sailor from each command who demonstrates sustained superior performance, proven leadership, outstanding professionalism and dedication to self-improvement.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command , visit www.navy.mil/local/necc/.