Senior Chief Legalman Karyn Sigurdsson, assigned to Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington (RLSO NDW), was selected for the Navy's Command Senior Enlisted Leader Program in January.
"I applied to the program for a number of reasons," Sigurdsson said. "I have 20 years in the Navy, and when at the crossroads of retirement or staying in, if I chose the path of staying in it would mean I needed to get a bit uncomfortable and do something new. Mentors I've had over the years have taught me to keep moving forward and challenging myself, and it's the same advice I've given to Sailors I've mentored myself."
Sigurdsson, from Greendale, Wisconsin, started her career at Great Lakes Recruit Training Command in April, 1997. She successfully completed Radioman “A” School before reporting to her first permanent duty station, Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Iceland and later transferred to Naval Air Station Keflavik. During her tour at NAS Keflavik, she became interested in the legalman rating and was accepted for conversion in October 2002. She attended Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I., graduating at the top of her class. As a legalman, she reported to Trial Service Office West Branch Office Whidbey Island in January 2003 and she volunteered to participate in a surge deployment aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) in October 2004. She then reported to Region Legal Service Office Europe and Southwest Asia Detachment Rota, Spain. During that tour she volunteered for an individual augmentee assignment to Task Force 134, Detainee Operations, Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq. Her next tour took her back to the Lincoln. She reported to Naval Justice School, Newport, R.I., in 2012. During that tour she was selected for advancement to senior chief.
"I never could have imagined where I am today when I was younger," Sigurdsson said. "I have gotten to meet so many people with such rich diversity like age, race, culture, upbringing geographically and socio-economically, political beliefs, religious beliefs, etc. I am so much a better person for having learned from all these people, and I am so thankful to be part of an organization that values that diversity and gives everyone the chance to succeed."
Sigurdsson's selection for the Navy's Command Senior Chief Program comes as no surprise to those who have had the privilege to work with her. "Senior Chief Sigurdsson's selection for the Command Senior Enlisted Leader Program is testament to her sustained, superior performance as a leader and mentor of Sailors," said Capt. Rock C. De Tolve, commanding officer of RLSO NDW. "Her outstanding service at ashore, at sea, and forward deployed reflect her deep commitment to our Sailors and our Navy. I am certain she will represent our JAG community exceedingly well in the Fleet!"
Sigurdsson is looking forward to broadening her leadership opportunities and furthering her career in the Navy.
"I'm looking forward to continuing learning about the Navy in the areas that I have limited experience in," said Sigurdsson. "I really hope I will get the opportunity to go back to sea. Legalmen never get to be on small boys, which is something I've always wanted to experience as all of my family members who served in the Navy served on small boys. I'm mostly looking forward to working with young Sailors and being part of the formative years of their careers - I hope that I can have a positive influence on them and that they will be ready to lead the Navy for the next generation."
The Command Master Chief and Command Senior Chief Programs are intended to ensure Sailors are effectively led and developed. Senior enlisted leaders selected for these programs are responsible for leading the alignment efforts of the chief's mess with the Navy ethos, Navy core values, and the MCPON's mission, vision, and guiding principles.
"I love the legalman rating and the legal community, but I also love the Navy and I wanted the opportunity to pay forward the mentorship that has been poured into me by giving that back on a bigger platform," said Sigurdsson. "We're a small community and there are no current command senior or master chiefs that were prior legalmen, so I'm proud and excited to represent the legalman rating in this new role."