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U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Names Sailors of the Year

February 1, 2019 at 5:46 PM UTC
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Nelson, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Public Affairs

Adm. James G. Foggo III, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-A), announced the 2018 U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa Shore Sailor, Sea Sailor, and Junior Sailor of the Year during a ceremony held in Naples, Italy, Feb. 1, 2019.

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“It’s a real honor to be up here on the stage to talk about such committed Sailors,” said Foggo. “Every one of these fine young men and women are winners, and every day the things that you do represent the excellence that was the mantra of Adm. Zumwalt and every Chief of Naval Operations since.”

Foggo took a moment to define what each of these Sailors represent, and why their commands selected them, before he announced the winners.

“Adm. Zumwalt created the Sailor of the Year program to encourage sustained performance,” said Foggo. “Each and everyone one of these Sailors that have been selected to compete represent that sustained performance.”

“Sailors of the Year represent the very best our Navy has to offer,” said CNE-A Fleet Master Chief Raymond D. Kemp Sr. “What we have here is an assembly of Sailors who are absolutely excelling. I have said it before… every rating and profession leads to lethality - and these are our contributing members. Thank you all for your service, thank you for the excellence you have displayed and thank you so much for continuing to operate at a very high level.”

Intelligence Specialist 1st Class Michael Eaker was named Sea Sailor of the Year, Cryptologic Technician (Collections) 1st Class Jeremy Thompson was named Shore Sailor of the Year, and Electronics Technician 2nd Class Nisha Mittiga was named Junior Sailor of the Year.

“The competition this year was extremely tough, however we came together as a group and realized this competition brings out excellence,” said Eaker. “When I found out I won it was extremely humbling. It made me think of all the people that helped me get to this spot because I know I wouldn’t be here without the help from my mentors and shipmates.”

The finalists were graded on criteria in 10 categories: primary responsibilities, job performance, leadership, command climate/sailorization, meritorious achievement, collateral duties, educational accomplishments, peer group/community involvement, personal appearance/military bearing, and boardmanship.

“It was a tough competition” said Thompson. “We had some really good Sailors from all around the fleet. It was a surprise to be selected, but as soon as I heard my name I just told myself I had to get up and start thinking about the next level and where it goes from there.”

Eaker moves on to compete next month at the Sea Sailor of the Year competition at U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and Thompson advances to compete later this spring at the Navy Shore Sailor of the Year competition at the Chief of Naval Operations.

“We would like to thank the spouses, the family members, friends, shipmates, and leaders that supported everyone one of these finalists,” said Kemp. “Without them we wouldn’t be in this place right now.

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.

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