NORFOLK, Virginia (NNS) -- Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic (COMSUBLANT) named the 2019 Shore and Sea Sailors of the Year (SOY) April 3.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Matthew Thompson, assigned to USS West Virginia (SSBN 736) (Blue) in Kings Bay, Georgia, was named Sea Sailor of the Year. Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Marisol Besson, assigned to the Undersea Warfighting Development Center detachment in San Diego, California, was named Shore Sailor of the Year.
Thompson, who hails from Spokane, Washington, serves as the Medical Department Representative and is solely responsible for the health and welfare of 170 Sailors.
“The moment my commanding officer informed me of my selection as the SUBLANT Sailor of the Year, I was so completely overwhelmed with pride, honor and shock, that I was speechless,” Thompson said. “My heart skipped a beat trying to fully comprehend what I had just accomplished.”
Besson, who serves as department Leading Petty Officer, led UWDC’s second largest department spanning across nine geographically dispersed locations throughout the United States, Japan and Italy.
“Through all of the phases of the Sailor of the Year competition, I have felt blessed by God and extremely honored to have my performance recognized,” Besson said. “I was surprised at my selection as COMSUBLANT’s SOY because all of the nominees at this level are competitive on their own merits and, since the process was completed via package review, I knew the selection board’s task of choosing one Sailor was going to be challenging.”
Representing a generation of submarine warfighters whose work ethic and demonstrated skill make up the backbone of America’s nuclear deterrent strategy, these Sailors know they did not reach this achievement level alone.
“I am excited about what this means for my naval career and hope to inspire others to work hard, be humble and always persevere,” said Besson, who is from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Thompson echoed her reaction.
“After my selection, all I could really think about were the people who helped guide me to where am today,” Thompson said.
Force Master Chief John Perryman expressed his pride for the SOY nominees, and the dedication shown by the Submarine Force every day.
“It makes me extraordinarily proud to be a Force Master Chief for such a committed and professional group of Sailors,” said Perryman. “Although we are recognizing these two Sailors, I don’t want any of the other Sailors in the submarine force to lose sight of the fact that Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle and I are particularly proud of the effort and dedication they show every day, and ensure the United States Submarine Force stays the best Submarine Force in the world.”
As the Senior Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year for COMSUBLANT, the next round of competition will be competing in the 2019 Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Sailor of the Year competition.
Sailor of the Year is a time-honored tradition introduced in 1972 by Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet. This annual competition is held to recognize superior performance of individual Sailors, who best exemplify the ideals of professional Sailor throughout the fleet.