TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (NNS) -- Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Daniel Gonzalez, leading petty officer for the Naval Hospital Twentynine Palms (NHTP) Directorate for Clinical Support Services, was selected as Senior Sailor of the Year for 2016.
"He's the best of the best," said NHTP Command Master Chief Jerry Ramey. "He's knowledgeable about core skills, knowledgeable about Navy leadership and history; and he's also very approachable and sincere. Junior Sailors respect him for that."
Gonzalez has been in the Navy 12 years, the last 2 1/2 years at NHTP. Hometown is El Paso, Texas. He's deployed twice and said he would do it again "in a heartbeat." He said his favorite assignment, however, is right here at NHTP.
"I've been afforded leadership opportunities here that wouldn't have been available at larger medical centers," Gonzalez said. "NHTP is like a tightknit family where everyone knows everyone else. We look out for each other just like family."
Gonzalez lives on base with his wife and three children, two sons -- 11 and 16 -- and a daughter, 13. His 20-year-old son just graduated from Air Force boot camp.
Gonzalez graduated from X-ray tech school in 2012. Before that he qualified as a field medical service technician, Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 8404, designating him a Fleet Marine Force corpsman.
He's often regarded by his peers as a "Sailor's Sailor," due to his leadership and mentoring skills. He supervises a directorate which encompasses the laboratory, pharmacy, physical therapy/occupational therapy, and radiology departments.
"Leadership starts at the deckplate," Gonzalez said. Deckplate leaders are visible, set the tone, know the mission, know their people, and develop their people beyond their own expectations as a team and as individuals.
"I make my rounds through all of my departments, engaging and interacting with all of my Sailors," he added. "My door is always open to discuss personal or career related matters."
During his tenure at NHTP, two to three Sailors have been selected for promotion each advancement cycle.
"HM1 Gonzales is a great leader because he makes it seem so easy," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael De Leon, occupational therapy department. "He inspires every Sailor in the directorate and he's always there for me."
Hospitalman Jacob Barrett, radiology department, reiterated that view.
"He's the guy young Sailors want to be," Barrett said. "He inspires us to want to reenlist."
Gonzales credited his upbringing for his leadership skills.
"My parents were strict; they instilled a sense of respect," Gonzalez said. "Respect goes a long way. Being polite and having good manners goes a long way in winning people over."
Gonzales looks forward to a potential promotion to chief hospital corpsman. His goal is to become an instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, and settle there permanently with his family.
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