Leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps Judge Advocate General (JAG) communities honored the achievements and service of the top enlisted Sailors and Marines during a virtual recognition ceremony on March, 22nd.
Navy Legalman 1st Class Bryan Fox – who is assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) as the Legal Department Leading Petty Officer (LPO) – has been named the JAG 2020 Legalman of the Year. Navy Legalman 1st Class Tonia Anderson – who is assigned to Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Mid-Atlantic as the Trial Department LPO – is the Naval Legal Service Command (NLSC) 2020 Service Member of the Year.
The Navy’s JAG, Vice Adm. John Hannink, was joined at the virtual event by Rear Adm. Del Crandall, Commander, NLSC and Deputy JAG; and Master Chief Legalman Brook Larkins, who serves as the senior enlisted advisor to the Navy JAG.
“The finalists are great Legalmen, great Sailors, and real contributors to the Navy,” said Hannink. “This is a recognition ceremony, and everyone is being recognized – every single one of them is a winner. And at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.”
Addressing the finalists, Hannink added: “Each one of you brought yourself to the team and to the mission wholeheartedly, without reservation. When we stitch together what each of you has accomplished, we can explain how our Navy has continued to serve the nation, even during a year as challenging in 2020. The Navy will need that kind of teamwork in the future to prevail against challenges.”
The six finalists for these prestigious awards were selected from a wide pool of applicants. Fourteen enlisted personnel were nominated for the JAG 2020 Legalman of the Year award. Ten enlisted personnel were nominated for the NLSC 2020 Service Member of the Year award.
Fox – who hails from Allen Park, Mich., – has provided extensive legal support aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt, including overseeing 299 legal cases, 79 administrative separations, and 21 investigations directly impacting the command’s ability to maintain good order and discipline. Fox also managed five Legalmen during two deployments with Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, and supervised the completion of more than 400 voting and legal assistance documents.
“It is a testament to the hard work and sacrifice of my family, shipmates, chain of command, and mentors,” said Fox. “They have given me the chance to stand for them, and I do not take that lightly. The Navy is a team sport and none of this would be possible without a strong support system. I am enormously proud to represent them and the Legalman community.” His commanding officer, Capt. Eric J. Anduze, calls Fox a model Legalman.
“Legalman 1st Class Fox embodies the tenets of our ship’s namesake, especially those of the ‘Man in the Arena,’” said Anduze. “Through an unprecedented year, when Sailors were asked to give more, lead more, and be more flexible, he excelled. My First Class Petty Officers were on the front line and Legalman 1st Class Fox led that charge. He was relentless in his pursuit to better the ship and the Sailors he served. His ‘don’t give up the ship’ mentality raised the standards of professionalism and leadership in the Legal Department and its effects were felt throughout the ship.”
Anderson – who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. – supports Trial Counsel at RLSO Mid-Atlantic in preparation for special courts-martial, general courts-martial, hearings, and arraignments. She led a team of junior Legalman members during the command’s first contested court-martial during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping ensure a smooth and effective trial despite significant logistical hurdles.
“Receiving this honor is very exciting, unexpected and I am just so grateful to even get this far,” said Anderson. “What I have taken from this honor is to continue to be selfless and more about others without looking for personal gain. I’ve learned that in the end being behind the scene of someone else’s success is so rewarding and I couldn’t have made it this far without my Sailors and leadership.”
RLSO Mid-Atlantic provides competent and timely trial, command services, and legal assistance advice and support to commands and authorized personnel within the 20-state Mid-Atlantic region in support of Fleet readiness and the effective operation of the military justice system. Capt. Frank D. Hutchison, the commanding officer, offered his strongest possible personal and professional endorsement of Anderson.
“Legalman 1st Class Anderson is an exceptionally outstanding First Class Petty Officer whose impact at the command and in the community cannot be overstated,” said Hutchison. “Her dedication, focus, and attitude have helped to ensure that both the Trial Department and command continue to operate successfully at a high operational tempo, despite constant hurdles resulting from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is she an extremely impressive paralegal, but she excels in leading Sailors and peers as the LPO. Legalman 1st Class Anderson is a selfless team player who constantly goes above and beyond in her performance.”
The other award finalists were Legalman 1st Class Ilecia A. Moses, USS America (LHA 6); Legalman 1st Class Brett A. Owens, Strike Fighter Squadron 106; Legalman 1st Class Lorena Morales, RLSO Southwest; and Legalman 1st Class Kevan Santos, Defense Service Office West.