US Pacific Fleet Announces 2016 Sailors of the Year

Story Number: NNS170313-08Release Date: 3/13/2017 11:21:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian M. Wilbur, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, announced Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Brent Schermerhorn and Naval Air Crewman (Avionics) 1st Class David Matuska as the Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year during a luncheon at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu, March 10.

Swift and U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief Suz Whitman praised the 14 finalists for their excellence, integrity, teamwork, and leadership.

"This is an extraordinary group of hard-working Sailors that I had the pleasure of interacting with this week," said Swift. "SOY week is a great reminder of the importance of our most valuable resource, people."

Representing guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88), Schermerhorn will fly to Washington, D.C., and will be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer. Schermerhorn was truly surprised and excited to hear his name announced as the Sailor of the Year.

"From the start I never expected to be here, I just work and take care of my Sailors," said Schermerhorn. "Being selected is so incredibly amazing that it's almost surreal. It hasn't set in yet and I don't think it will until I go back to my command and talk to my peers and junior Sailors," he added.

Matuska, representing Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 10, will continue his journey by traveling to Washington, D.C., and competing in the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year competition.

"Being selected as the Pacific Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year is absolutely humbling," said Matuska. "I'm excited to get the opportunity to go to D.C. to compete and potentially put on anchors."

During the past week, the 14 finalists spent time in Pearl Harbor experiencing some of the richest naval history and heritage the Pacific has to offer with visits to the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as a meeting with Medal of Honor recipient Charles Hagemeister. During their time aboard the Arizona Memorial, they honored the Sailors who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor with a wreath-laying ceremony.

Their journey to Hawaii included stiff competitions and boards at each echelon of command, leading up to this week, to identify the top sea and shore Sailors.

"Today we celebrate and recognize these Sailors of the Year finalists for their many contributions and accomplishments," said Whitman, "for it is these Sailors and many more like them that make our Navy the most capable and powerful navy in the world."

Sea Sailors of the Year finalists included: Schermerhorn; Yeoman 1st Class Mujahideen Alikhan, representing submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39); Navy Diver 1st Class Nicholas Blankshine, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1; Culinary Specialist 1st Class Adam Fletcher, Carrier Strike Group 1; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nicholas Paris, 23rd Dental Company; Information Systems Technician 1st Class Lance Parrish, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force 7th Fleet; and Naval Air Crewman 1st Class William Stevens, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51.

Finalists for the Shore Sailor of the Year included: Matuska; Legalman 1st Class Kashetah Bedford, representing Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Laura Godinez, 30th Naval Construction Regiment; Electronics Technician 1st Class Desiree Gonzales, Commander, Task Force 72; Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class Marquis Perry, Commander, Submarine Pacific Fleet; Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Jason Robinson, Assault Craft Unit 5; and Construction Mechanic 1st Class Cole Tankersley, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

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