By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Trey Fowler
Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) announced the Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, March 6, 2020.
Information Systems Technician 1st Class Krystal Landrovediaz was recognized as the CNE-CNA Sea SOY and Cryptologic Technician Collection 1st Class Edward Vargas was recognized as the CNE-CNA Shore SOY for 2019.
“Winning Sailor of the Year is like a beacon for the junior Sailors,” said Vargas. “It shows them that if you work hard and take care of your Sailors, that they are in charge and will be recognized.”
CNE-CNA Fleet Master Chief Derrick Walters, head of the CNE-CNA SOY program, talked about the characteristics a selection board looks for in a SOY candidate.
"These finalists embody everything we expect of our Sailors," said Walters. "As a military we have done our best to cultivate a culture of excellence. Modern Sailors need to demonstrate the capability of sustained superior performance, exemplary personal conduct, and exceptional military bearing. I feel this competition shows our top performers in those categories.”
But along with those highly valued characteristics, Walters said that there’s something else that distinguishes them from the rest.
“In my opinion, the most important quality that these sailors possess is their “can do” attitude,” said Walters. “This is a quality held by people who are capable of doing anything they set their mind to do."
Sailors competing for SOY are judged on professionalism, performance, leadership, uniform appearance and institutional knowledge.
"I’m happy to say that our finalists for Sea and Shore SOY will go on to compete in further competitions, and hopefully earn the opportunity to compete in the fleet-wide iteration in Washington D.C.” said Walters. “The unique thing about this competition is that the fleet-wide winner exemplifies what we believe a quality Sailor is. The Sailor that wins earns a spot in the chief’s mess, and will be promoted to the rank of chief petty officer.”
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.