Vinson Sailor Named Pacific Fleet Aviation Boatswain's Mate of the Year

Story Number: NNS120626-04Release Date: 6/26/2012 6:22:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW/AW) Nicolas Lopez, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) -- A Sailor assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was named Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AB) of the Year for the Pacific Fleet June 19.

Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 1st Class (AW/SW) Omar Bamba, Air Department's V-2 Division Waist Catapults leading petty officer, was also previously named Carl Vinson's Sailor of the Quarter for the 1st Quarter 2012, during the ship's most recent Western Pacific deployment.

Every year the Aviation Boatswain's Mate Association (ABMA) selects two ABs, one for each of the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets, to earn the title "AB of the Year." Candidates are nominated for outstanding military performance, professionalism, dedication to duty and contributions toward improvements within the aviation boatswain's mates community.

In order to be eligible, Bamba's chain of command put together a package highlighting his personal and professional achievements as well as including comments and recommendations from Vinson's Commanding Officer, Capt. Kent Whalen.

The aircraft handling officer, along with Vinson's air department limited duty officers (LDOs) and leading chief petty officers (LCPOs), conducted a board during which they reviewed each candidate's achievements over the year, Master Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (AW/SW) Raul Castillo, air department's leading chief petty officer explained. The rigorous evaluation factored performance evaluations, warfare qualifications, command involvement, awards and off-duty education.

"To compete for this award, you're not just competing with Carl Vinson Air Department first classes but every air department 1st class on the West Coast," said Lt. Cmdr. Tommy Edgeworth, Carl Vinson's aircraft handling officer. "To know that ABE1 Bamba won - it not only made him feel great but it was a point of pride for our entire air department."

"[ABE1 Bamba] is a hard-working individual who seeks the best for his Sailors in the Air Department. His Sailors are going to take a lot of pride in his selection," Castillo said.

Bamba will attend the 42nd annual ABMA Working Group Symposium August 13-17, at Norfolk, Va. where he will represent Carl Vinson and all Pacific Fleet ABs while discussing topics and concerns within the AB community. Bamba and the Atlantic Fleet AB of the Year will be honored during the general assembly of the ABMA working group.

Bamba said his selection came as a surprise because he knows so many deserving first class petty officers onboard Carl Vinson. "This isn't my award, this is a V-2 award," Bamba added. "If it wasn't for [my shipmates] helping me out and learning new things, I don't think I would've won."

Bamba said the advice his first chief gave him when he was an aviation boatswain's mate (equipment) airman recruit was integral in his success and is something he has kept throughout his naval career.

"My first chief told me if you're not working on the flight deck or working on qualifications, you need to be training," Bamba said. "[It] doesn't matter what it is, but train and that will take you far. That is what I have been doing [ever] since."

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Sailors man the rails as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) returns to homeport.
120523-N-GZ832-358 NAVAL BASE CORONADO, Calif. (May 23, 2012) Sailors man the rails as the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) returns to homeport. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 recently completed a deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin Stevens)
May 23, 2012
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