By U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs
Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet (C6F) announced the Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, Jan. 31, 2020.
Yeoman 1st Class Hannah Herrera was recognized as the C6F Sea SOY and Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Edward Vargas was recognized as the C6F Shore SOY for 2019.
"It was a wonderful time to learn and get great advice and feedback from all the Combined Task Force (CTF) Senior Enlisted Leaders and Commanders,” said Vargas, who will now compete for the U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa SOY. “It was a total honor to represent the staff for all the hard work we do here in U.S. 6th Fleet."
U.S. 6th Fleet Command Master Chief Johannes J. Gonzalez talked about the characteristics a selection board looks for in a SOY candidate.
"We are looking for somebody that not only develops junior Sailors and leads at their divisional and department level, but is also the subject matter expert," said Gonzalez. "Many of the criteria that we look for in a Sailor of the Year candidate is similar to the criteria of a chief petty officer selection board because the winner will potentially become a chief petty officer."
Sailors competing for SOY are judged on professionalism, performance, leadership, uniform appearance and institutional knowledge.
“I was very impressed with all candidates,” said Gonzalez. "No matter how we look at this there is one common theme - Sailors today are better-rounded, smarter, and more educated than ever before. You’re seeing a cadre of Sailors that have a much broader knowledge of their job and Sailor development. Each opportunity that I am able to represent the senior enlisted leaders at this level it’s an eye opener to me for the simple fact that I know our Navy is in great hands as these Sailors rise through the ranks."
The SOY program was established in 1972 by then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize an individual Sailor who best represented the ever-growing group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and ultimately the Navy.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.