By Petty Officer 2nd Class William McCann, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) — Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Admiral Phil Sawyer announced the 2018 Sailor of the Year during a ceremony held at the Chief Petty Officer’s Club in Yokosuka, Japan Jan 17th.
This year’s competition featured 9 Sailors competing for the prestigious award.
“We focus on our people because they are our biggest asset in 7th Fleet and throughout the US Navy” said 7th Fleet Command Master Chief Benjamin Howat. “By recognizing their hard work, dedication and professional development, we recognize them to help prepare them as better leaders in the future.”
Vice Admiral Sawyer announced Legalman 1st Class Ryan Pickens of Carrier Strike Group 5 (CCSG5) as this year’s 7th Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year, Navy Musician 1st Class Stephen Hux of the United States 7th Fleet Band this year’s 7th Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year, and Electronics Technician 1st Class Terrence Washington is this year’s 7th Fleet Reserve Sailor of the Year.
All nominees received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal at the ceremony, with the winners still in the running for the worldwide U.S. Navy Sailor of the Year award.
Joining the three winners as finalists were Operations Specialist 1st Class Jaquon Haywood, Operations Specialist 1st Class Andrew Pristyak, Logistics Specialist 1st Class Nicholson Olmande, Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Ryan Schoephoester, Electronics Technician 1st Class Nguyet Mai, and Operations Specialist 1st Class Darrell Batchelor.
“Congratulations to all the Sailor of the Year winners and thank you for working hard to get here” said Sawyer. “It’s not your technical skill set, but your leadership abilities that brought you here today”
Each of the winners and candidates serving at their respective commands embraced the core values of honor, courage and commitment.
“I did not expect to win at all” said LN1 Pickens. “We are all exceptional Sailors, so I knew the competition would be tough and I was nervous the whole time.”
Petty Officers Hux and Pickens will go on to compete at the Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) level Sailor of the Year competition and Petty Officer Washington will go on to compete at the reserve force (RESFOR) level for reserve Sailor of the Year.
Adm. Elmo Zumwalt initiated the Sailor of the Year program in 1972, to recognize the outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The following year, the Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced.
Each year, every Navy ship, station and command around the world chooses its Sailor of the Year based on leadership, professionalism dedication, and superior performance. These selectees compete against recipients from other commands, eventually competing at higher echelons until the Navy’s four finest are chosen – only one is selected as the Navy Shore SOY.