VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, UNITED STATES
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Navy Expeditionary Combat Command announced its 2012 Sea Pacific and Atlantic, Shore PAC and LANT, and Reserve Sailors of the Year during a luncheon at the Westin Town Center, Virginia Beach, Va., Feb. 13.
Master Chief Jeffrey Covington, NECC force master chief, announced Builder 1st Class Alfred Fehling, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1, as Sea PAC SOY; Electronics Technician 1st Class William Hicks, assigned to Coastal Riverine Group 2, as Sea LANT SOY; Explosive Ordnance Disposal 1st Class Jacob Shearman, assigned to EODGRU 1, as Shore PAC SOY; Logistics Specialist 1st Class (SCW) Latoya Rogers, assigned to FIRST Naval Construction Division (1NCD), as Shore LANT SOY; and Utilitiesman 1st Class (SCW) Richard Bloomberg, assigned to 1NCD, as Reserve SOY.
“It’s a very humbling experience to be here,” said Fehling. “To have won and go on to represent your command at the highest level this program has, really makes you think about where you came from and all the people who helped you get here. There is no way I could have ever gotten here if it wasn’t for the people who worked with me.”
Earlier in the week, each of the ten candidates attended an interview board before eight master chief petty officers where they were asked scenario-based leadership questions and judged on their professionalism, military bearing, evaluations and SOY package.
“I was nervous through the whole process of my board,” said Rogers. “It wasn’t because I was in front of a bunch of master chiefs, but because I was giving them my whole heart and trying to convey to them everything in me and where I was coming from.”
Shearman, Rogers, Fehling and Hicks are now in the competition for Sea and Shore United States Fleet Forces (USFF) Direct Reporting Activities (DRA) SOY where they will continue to compete at the Chief of Naval Operations competition. Bloomberg will move on to the Commander Navy Reserve Force (CNRF) competition. Winners of USFF DRA and CNRF SOY will be meritoriously advanced to the rank of chief petty officer.
“I am very proud of each Sailor and their accomplishments,” said Rear Adm. Michael P. Tillotson, commander of NECC. “They all have demonstrated the greatest level of initiative, innovation and devotion to not only themselves, but also to their shipmates, units and Navy. I am confident each one of them will advance to chief, senior chief and even master chief.”
These sailors represent NECC’s enduring force providing capability across the full ranges of military operations in the maritime strategy to include forward presence, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, seas control, power projection, and deterrence, now and in the future.
The Navy’s SOY program was established in 1972 and recognizes one sailor from each command who demonstrates sustained superior performance, proven leadership, outstanding professionalism and dedication to self-improvement.
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