Legalman 1st Class Jean Yusten was named the 2017 U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Shore Sailor of the Year during a ceremony held at the Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, base theater Jan. 26.
The announcement was the culminating event following a week of activities scheduled for the finalists and their spouses by the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Chiefs Mess to include group physical training, a community relations project, and cultural tours.
“There were a lot of great Sailors that came up for this and we all had a great week together,” said Yusten. “There was something we could learn from every single person that was here. So to be chosen amongst the best is something you never really expect to happen and I just hope I can make them all proud.”
Yusten will advance to compete later this spring at the Navy Shore Sailor of the Year competition at the Chief of Naval Operations. U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, headquartered in Naples, Italy, oversees joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, to enable enduring relationships and increase vigilance and resilience in Europe and Africa.
Legalman 1st Class Eric R. Foster, Carrier Strike Group 11 (CCSG 11), was selected as the Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet 2017 Sea Sailor of the Year during a ceremony held at the U.S. 3rd Fleet headquarters building in San Diego, Feb. 2. Foster, from Decatur, Georgia, said he is blessed and humbled by his selection and the award represents the hard work and dedication of many who helped him in accomplishing goals.
“Being selected as Sailor of the year is phenomenal because I was selected from a large group of qualified Sailors,” said Foster. “I feel it is not me who won. It is a combination of God, my family, and my command. Without them, I wouldn’t be here.” Foster said he appreciated the standard of excellence to which he is held his command and said he made it his mission to deliver excellence every day. “I want to pay this forward,” said Foster. “I want to continue to inspire my junior Sailors, I want to continue to contribute to my peers, and I want to continue to serve my leaders.”
Foster will advance to compete for the title of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Sailor of the year in March. The Pacific Fleet Sea SOY will be meritoriously advanced to the rank of chief petty officer during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., this summer; the Pacific Fleet Shore SOY will advance to compete at the Chief of Naval Operations level. The winner of that competition will also be meritoriously advanced to the rank of chief petty officer. Sailor of the Year is one of a number of recognition programs designed to encourage Sailors to perform well. Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, former chief of naval operations, created the Sailor of the Year program in 1972 to recognize outstanding Sailors at sea. The following year, the Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced.