NORFOLK (NNS) -- Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL) announced the selection of the Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year during a luncheon aboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 5.
Rear Adm. J.R. Haley, commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, announced Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class Ian Macgregor as the CNAL Sea Sailor of the Year and Naval Aircrewmen (Avionics) 1st Class William Ballard as the CNAL Shore Sailor of the Year.
"They are 21st century Sailors, they are experts of their field, leaders of leaders and pillars in the community. They are absolutely remarkable. First class petty officer is the most difficult rate in the Navy, and I would wager that the chiefs who were first class petty officers would agree. The expectation of a first class petty officer is that you work at the chief's level, you work at the junior officer level, and that you do it without any of the authorities that a chief or an officer has. You do all that for sheer leadership," said Haley.
The two Sailors were selected from ten candidates representing more than 40,000 men and women serving in the sea and shore components within Naval Air Force Atlantic. Each represented their respective commands after being selected as that commands Sailor of the Year.
Macgregor is a native of Worchester, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1999 and is currently assigned to Commander, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 46 in Mayport, Florida.
"It feels amazing. I'm only here because of my shipmates, my mentors and my friends," said Macgregor. "This has been humbling, just to meet this group of people and to see what the level of performance that the competition is, it's absolutely humbling, and I'm honored."
Ballard is a native of Ponchatoula, Louisiana. He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1998 and is currently assigned to Patrol Squadron 30 in Jacksonville, Florida.
"The whole experience has been humbling, I couldn't have done it without my chain of command and the support of my fiance," said Ballard. It's been surreal, I didn't expect to win today by any means, I had a lot of good competition, and now we're probably friends for life."
Both Sailors will advance to the next selection process to determine the Sailors of the Year for U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
For more news from Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, visit www.navy.mil/local/comnavairlant/.