WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy's 2015 Sailors of the Year were meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer during a ceremony held at the Navy Memorial, May 12.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson served as guest speaker during the pinning ceremony hosted by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens.
The four Sailors of the Year honored at the ceremony are: Equipment Operator 1st Class Steven W. Butterhof, representing U.S. Navy Reserve; Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Launching & Recovering Equipment) 1st Class Tinisha Franklin, representing U.S. Fleet Forces; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jessica Wentlent, representing U.S. Navy Shore; and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Corey Smith, representing U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Richardson began by congratulating and thanking the SOYs for their hard work and dedication that paved the way to their success.
"You became Sailors of the Year in your commands I am sure because you had an influence that transcended your division, transcended your work centers and manifested itself throughout the commands and now you are here because that same commitment, that leadership, really has an affect across the entire Navy by virtue of man," said Richardson. "I think that it's inspirational for us to be here in so many ways, we can draw strength from your commitment and from your accomplishments."
Throughout their weeklong visit to Washington, the Sailors of the Year and their families toured historic sites and enjoyed special events held in their honor.
Richardson took a moment to remind the SOYs to be grateful for their families.
"One thing I think we all have and share in common is that we know that we don't do this alone, we are supported throughout not only by our shipmates but also by our families and I know that each one of these Sailors of the Year is no different in that regard and strongly supported for by their families," said Richardson.
Before the SOYs had their anchors pinned to their collars and combination covers placed on their heads, Richardson read their letter of appointment.
"Your appointment carries with it the obligation that you exercise increased authority and willingness to accept greater responsibility. Your every action must be governed by a strong sense of personal moral responsibility and leadership."
The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize an individual Sailor who best represented the ever-growing group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and ultimately the Navy.
When the program began, only the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors were recognized. Within 10 years, the Sailor of the Year program was expanded to include the shore establishment and Navy Reserve Sailors.
Sponsored by the CNO, the program provides recognition to the Navy's outstanding Sailors through numerous presentations, awards and meritorious advancement to the next pay grade.