HONOLULU - Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), announced Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class (SW/AW) Nicholas W. Natelli as 2018 Sea Sailor of the Year (SOY) and Logistics Specialist 1st Class (AW/SW) Sindy M. Johnson as the 2018 Shore SOY during a ceremony at the Ala Moana Hotel in Waikiki, March 21.
Prior to announcing the winners, Aquilino commended all 16 nominees for their hard work and dedication.
"These Sailors standing before you represent the best of the Pacific Fleet," said Aquilino. "Their toughness, initiative, accountability and integrity set an example for all of us, and show why our Sailors make us the greatest Navy in the world. The strength, skill and fighting spirit of our young men and women should keep our adversaries up at night."
Representing USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), Natelli will travel to Washington, D.C. to be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer.
“I just try to be the best Sailor and leader I can be every day,” said Natelli. “I'm incredibly honored to represent PACFLT and I'm humbled to have been chosen for this award.”
Johnson currently serves at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest and will also travel to Washington, D.C. to represent PACFLT at the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year Competition. If selected, she too will be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer.
“I did not expect to hear my name called,” said Johnson. “I feel that being approachable and setting a good example got me to where I am today."
Nominees spent the week leading up to the ceremony learning the rich history and heritage of Pearl Harbor, including visits to the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the USS Arizona Memorial, as well as attending various social events.
The Sea SOY finalists were: Navy Diver 1st Class (DWS/EXW) Kristoph S. Carey, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Wilfred C. Flores, 1st Medical Battalion; Information Systems Technician 1st Class (IW/AW) Emily L. Guidangen, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3; Electrician’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class (SS) Ryan P. Helms, USS Key West (SSN 722); Master-at-Arms 1st Class (EXW/SW) Brian D. Hughes, Coastal Riverine Squadron (CRS) 3; Electrician’s Mate 1st Class (SW/IW) Timothy R. Phillips, Naval Special Warfare Group 3; Legalman 1st Class (SW/AW/IW) Ryan L. Pickens, Commander Carrier Strike Group 5; and Logistics Specialist 1st Class (AW) Ryan R. Schick, Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron.
The Shore SOY finalists were: Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (SS/FMF) Matthew S. Biecker, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Legalman 1st Class (AW) Rebecca S. Duclayan, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific; Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class (IW/SW) Mandi T. Hadleyecklund, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; Musician 1st Class (SW/SG/IW) Stephen F. Hux, U.S. 7th Fleet Band; Equipment Operator 1st Class (SCW/EXW) David M. Marler, Naval Construction Group 1; and Damage Controlman 1st Class (SW) Dustin J. Parks, Afloat Training Group Western Pacific.
The Sailor of the Year program was initiated by Adm. Elmo Zumwalt in 1972 as he sought to recognize outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors at sea. The Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced in 1973.