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News | June 4, 2021

Legalman Named Office of the Secretary of Defense Sailor of the Year

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

Legalman 1st Class Sophia Davis was named Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Sailor of the Year (SOY) by the Navy’s senior enlisted leader at OSD. She was chosen from among Sailors assigned to all activities under the direct supervision of OSD. Davis currently serves as a defense paralegal in the Legal Department in the Office of Military Commissions.

“I would not have imagined – after transferring from the Territory of Guam to Washington, D.C. less than a year ago – that I would be selected as OSD SOY and a finalist for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Shore SOY,” said Davis.

Davis, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., enlisted in the Navy in September 2005. Upon completion of recruit training, she attended follow-on skills training at Seaman Airman Apprenticeship Training School in Great Lakes, Ill. In January 2006, she reported for her first duty at Sewell's Point Police Precinct at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. as a Naval Security Force officer, and was transferred to Naval Support Activity, Norfolk Security Department shortly thereafter.

In her current assignment, Davis is a paralegal at Military Commission Defense Organization. She is one one of six defense paralegals assigned to complex, high-visibility, and high-profile cases. Her team represents detainees at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) accused of war crimes involving alleged terrorism against the U.S. under the Military Commissions Act of 2009.

“Throughout my naval career, I have worked mostly on military justice cases and wanted to do something different,” said Davis. “I pursued this path because I always had an interest in broadening my knowledge of the legal/law profession. I am looking forward to continuing my career along this path.”

Davis recognizes that earning the OSD SOY award is a high-water mark in her career.

“When I was young, my parents always told me remember to be selfish but always be selfless,” Davis added. “They said: ‘Take care of yourself but most importantly take care of those around you.’ Receiving this award personally means I am on the right path. It’s about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your limitations and your fears. Turning your dreams into reality.”

The SOY program recognizes Sailors who best represent the Navy’s enlisted community. The SOY candidate is typified by a history of sustained superior performance, command impact, mission contribution, proven leadership, dedication to self-improvement, outstanding professionalism, and superior personal appearance. Selectees epitomize the characteristics of a first class petty officer and the Navy Core Values.

Davis served as leading petty officer (LPO) and command services Legalman and was awarded Sailor of the Quarter for the second quarter in 2013. In August 2013, she received her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Roger Williams University, R.I. In December 2013, she reported to Defense Service Office Southeast, where she served as the senior defense paralegal and LPO for Detachment Mayport and Branch Office Jacksonville. She obtained her State of Florida notary license in January 2015. In October 2016, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice (Criminology) from Saint Leo University, Fla. She is continuing her studies in a Masters program specializing in forensic science and crime scene investigation. In January 2018, she reported aboard USS Frank Cable (AS-40), homeported in Santa Rita, Territory of Guam. She served as the command Legalman/discipline officer and departmental LPO.

Davis was eager to acknowledge motiving mentors, persistent peers, patient protégés, and especially her family upon receiving this recognition.

“To all, thank you so much for always believing in me and pushing me when I needed it the most,” she said.
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