WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced its 2017 Sailor of the Year for the active-duty and reserve categories during an award ceremony in Arlington, Virginia Feb. 1.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Brandon Elrod, currently assigned to the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport in Keyport, Washington, won in the active-duty category and Engineman 1st Class Brandon Lovell, SurgeMain Houston, Texas, won in the reserve category.
"You can change the world," said NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore, offering advice to the finalists during his remarks. "You have all exhibited leadership levels above and beyond your peers, and that is going to take you far," he said. "But it is what you do going forward that will define your legacy."
"Each one of these finalists has done tremendous things for the command, their Sailors and their communities and we are immensely proud of their accomplishments," said NAVSEA's Command Master Chief Petty Officer Robert Crossno.
Prior to the ceremony, the 10 finalists representing NAVSEA's field activities, shipyards, and reserve units spent two days meeting NAVSEA and Navy senior leaders and visiting locations around the Washington D.C. area, including Arlington National Cemetery and the Navy Memorial.
In addition to Elrod and Lovell, the finalists included:
* Machinery Repairman 1st Class Gilbert Rios Jr., Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center
* Navy Diver 1st Class William Sherman, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (IMF)
* Navy Diver 1st Class Steven Starner, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division
* Navy Diver 1st Class Joshua Underwood, Navy Experimental Diving Unit
* Machinist's Mate 1st Class Lucas Carthew, SurgeMain Sacramento
* Machinist's Mate 1st Class Thomas Glica, NOSC Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania
* Navy Diver 1st Class Joseph Simpson, Navy Experimental Diving Support Unit
* Electrician's Mate Christian Stong, SurgeMain Chattanooga
Elrod enlisted in the Navy in 2008. His previous assignments include Surface Warfare Medical Institute, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit Two, and 2nd Marine Division. He is currently assigned as the Deep Sea Diving Independent Duty Corpsman, Medical Department Head, Educational Services Officer, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Assistant Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor, Command Duty Officer, and Command Recompression Chamber Supervisor for Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division Keyport. He earned an associate's degree in applied science at American Public University.
Lovell enlisted in the Navy in 2001. His previous assignments include Naval Operational Support Center Houston, USS San Jacinto (CG 56), Navy Recruiting District Raleigh, North Carolina, Torpedo Weapons Retriever 821, and Amphibious Construction Battalion One. He is currently assigned as the Leading Petty Officer and Assistant Command Fitness Leader for SurgeMain Houston, Texas; Unlimited Dive Supervisor, 3M Coordinator and Production Manager for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from California Baptist University as well as an associate's degree in marine engineering from Coastline Community College.
Elrod will go on to compete for Sailor of the Year at the office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) level, while Lovell will go on to compete for Sailor of the Year in the Navy Reserve.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet established the Sailor of the Year award program in 1972 to recognize individual Sailors who best represented the growing group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and ultimately, the Navy.
Initially, the program only recognized Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. Within 10 years, the Sailor of the Year program expanded to incorporate shore commands and Navy Reserve Sailors.
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