The SOY is a prestigious honor recognizing Sailors who embody sustained superior performance, command impact, proven leadership and the Navy’s core values.
“Congratulations to our very own ND1 Aaron Gruber on being selected as the Navy’s Shore Sailor of the Year,” said NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Doug Small. “He competed and was selected over 24 Echelon II Commands which is an amazing accomplishment. We are all very proud of you.”
Selected from a field of exceptional performers from across all Navy shore commands, Gruber will receive the Navy Commendation Medal and be meritoriously promoted to Chief Petty Officer (CPO) upon completion of the CPO initiation. He will also attend the U.S. Navy’s Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, RI and the CPO heritage week aboard the USS Constitution.
“I could not be more proud of ND1’s personal accomplishment here,” said NIWC Pacific Commanding Officer Andrew Gainer. “He was judged on his merits, by a rigorous process, and found to be the best Sailor serving ashore in our Navy today. That said, few Sailors win at this level without a solid team around them. I also appreciate ND1’s mentors and friends at NAVWAR and NIWC Pacific who supported his journey over the past few months. That includes every other competitor for Sailor of the Quarter and Year in FY20. Only one Sailor can win the top honor for the Navy, but every competitor helps push that Sailor to the top. This is a great win for ND1 Gruber and for the NAVWAR and NIWC Pacific team.”
Gruber’s unit operates with various commands, branch services, and Department of Defense (DoD) industry partners supporting Secretary of Defense and Chief of Naval Operations-directed research, development, test and evaluation projects critical to undersea warfare technologies and national security objectives.
As a diving supervisor, Gruber is accountable for the safe leadership and direction of 41 Navy divers performing operations critical to fleet readiness. During FY20, Gruber successfully coordinated mission essential diving operations with pandemic restrictions in Second, Third and Seventh Fleets while planning and directing 26 project test evaluations encompassing 203 calendar days.
"This has been an incredible and humbling experience,” said Gruber. “To get the opportunity to represent my Command and the Navy Diver community at such a high level is something I'll carry with me for the rest of life. No one succeeds without the support of those around them, and I can say without a doubt that I have had the privilege of serving with the some of the best the Navy has to offer."
Although the rate of Navy Diver or “ND” was officially established in 2006, Navy divers have been around since the middle of the 1800’s with duties including salvage and recovery, deep submergence, ships husbandry, saturation diving, and various integration efforts. Their first documented military operation happened during the civil war in the battle of Mobile Bay. Preparations for the battle included sending swimmers ahead of ships to clear the mines the Confederate States planted at the entrance of the bay.
Additionally, Navy divers built the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) underwater habitats to test the psychological and physiological strains humans can endure in the deep sea.
Fittingly, the Navy diver motto is “we dive the world over.” Members of this special operations force travel the world, working everywhere imaginable, in just about every possible undersea environment, from cold, muddy water, to warm, tropical oceans clear enough for underwater photography.
NAVWAR identifies, develops, delivers and sustains information warfighting capabilities and services that enable naval, joint, coalition and other national missions operating in warfighting domains from seabed to space and through cyberspace. NAVWAR consists of more than 11,000 civilian, active duty and reserve professionals located around the world.
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