WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The 2009 Sailors of the Year (SOY) were advanced to chief petty officers during a ceremony at the Navy Memorial July 16.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)(SS/SW) Rick West hosted the ceremony.
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Shore SOY, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class James Nicholson; Fleet Forces Command Sea SOY, Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Robert Barber; Pacific Fleet Sea SOY Aviation Structural Mechanic (Safety Equipment) 1st Class Christopher Green and Navy Reserve SOY, Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 1st Class William Frost each received the Navy Commendation Medal prior to receiving their chief's anchors.
Nicholson is currently assigned to Surface Warfare Medicine Institute in San Diego; he previously served aboard USS Makin Island (LHD-8). Barber is assigned to Fleet Readiness Center Southeast in Jacksonville, Fla.; Green with Strike Fighter Squadron 41 out of Naval Air Station LeMoore, Calif., and Frost with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 85 on North Island, Calif.
Throughout the week, the Sailors of the Year and their families met with Department of Defense and Navy leaders, visited historical sites and enjoyed special events held in their honor in the Washington area.
Prior to the pinning, West discussed the significance of wearing anchors as chiefs then pointed out that the rest of their summer won't be easy.
"In a couple weeks," said MCPON, "you'll begin a process that will challenge you to a degree you've never experienced. I'm talking about Chief's Induction. It's not meant to be easy, and it won't be. But you'll learn how to wear those anchors."
Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, presented each Sailor Navy Commendation Medals and offered his thoughts as to why the four Sailors of the Year were selected from a Navy of more than 440,000.
"They live out our Navy Ethos every day," said Roughead. "And they make us a better Navy. Admittedly, they are the best of the best. In this time of war, when all our resources are stretched and our people are in positions they may have never expected, these Sailors stood out as leaders."
Roughead also stressed the important roles the four Sailors would be expected to fill based on their advancement to CPO.
"No nation can match our chief petty officers in their knowledge, professionalism, leadership and most importantly, sense of accountability to our Sailors, our Navy and our nation," said Roughead.
Shortly after Roughead's remarks Frost, Nicholson, Barber and Green stepped forward. Anchors were pinned to their collars and combination covers placed on their heads.
"From this day forward, you'll be the chief," said West. "And there is no greater honor than having earned that title. And you have earned it, but your job isn't over. You must not rest on what you've accomplished, and I know you won't."
The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by then-CNO Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and then-MCPON Jack Whittet to recognize outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The next year, the program honored the top Shore Sailor of the Year.
Sponsored by the CNO, the program annually provides recognition to the Navy's outstanding Sailors through numerous presentations, awards and meritorious advancement to the next pay grade.
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