SAN DIEGO - Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet announced its 2010 Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year during a ceremony aboard Naval Air Station North Island, Calif., Feb. 24.

Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (AW/SW) Mark Rodriguez, a native of Seguin, Texas, assigned to USS George Washington (CVN 73), earned Sea Sailor of the Year, and Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 1st Class (AW) Kimberely McKinney, a native of Albemarle, N.C., assigned to Commander, Fleet Air Forward, earned Shore Sailor of the Year.

Rodriguez said his experiences throughout the competition helped him to build a bond with the other finalists.

"Being selected from among these incredible finalists is an absolute honor," said Rodriguez. "I hope I can make them proud as I continue to the next level, and although this entire experience was amazing, the camaraderie felt among our group is something I'll always remember."

McKinney agreed with Rodriguez and said she plans to use the accomplishment to inspire her junior Sailors.

"The sisterhood and brotherhood I've shared with these first classes is just a glimpse as to what I'll experience when I get into the chief's mess," she said. "I can't wait to go back and show my Sailors that hard work does pay off and give back to them what they've given to me."

While announcing this year's winners, Vice Adm. Allen G. Myers said he was overwhelmed with selflessness and overall quality of each finalist.

"I'm blown away by the talent and the accomplishments of these Sailors," said Myers. "They are recognized experts in their ratings, active members in their local communities and they don't just count hours when it comes to contributions. These folks are actively serving and are fully connected with the communities in which they work."

After arriving in San Diego Feb. 20, participants completed their last physical requirements and took part in an extensive interview process. The finalists and their spouses joined their counterparts from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander, Naval Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet at various social events including luncheons, a visit with the area Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and the USS Midway Museum.

"This is my favorite week of the year," said Force Master Chief Jim DeLozier. "It takes a lot of planning to get ready for this. Ninety percent of my time is spent on ten percent of the people. This is a week that I can dedicate to outstanding Sailors, the best we have to offer in the Navy."

Rodriguez and McKinney will continue their journey to Hawaii, where they will compete for the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet's Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year title.

The other Sea SOY finalists included:

Navy Counselor 1st Class (AW/SW) Christina Schalzle Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 4

Personnel Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Pedro Gutierrez, Jr. USS Nimitz (CVN 68)

Aviation Boatswain Mate (Equipment) 1st Class (AW/SW) Rick Maghanoy USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)

The other Shore SOY finalists were:

Aviation Electrician's Mate 1st Class (AW) Nino Ramirez Fighter Attack Squadron 204

Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class (AW) Kenneth Zumwalt Fleet Readiness Center Detachment Fort Worth

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/airpac/.