U.S. Pacific Fleet Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year finalists pause from a day of activities to take a group photo in front of fleet headquarters. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Brian M. Wilbur)

PEARL HARBOR - Sailors of the Year from around Pacific Fleet have gathered in Pearl Harbor for a week focused on naval history and heritage, leadership and team building ahead of Friday’s announcement of the winners in the sea and shore categories.

“It’s been eye opening to see the whole process from the opposite side,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Corey Smith, 2015’s Sea Sailor of the Year. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of this year’s SOY week and to show these Sailors some of the richest naval heritage and history the Pacific has to offer.”

Throughout the week the 14 finalists will visit sites such as the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and the USS Arizona Memorial.

Their journey included evaluation boards at each echelon of command, leading up to this week, to identify the top Pacific Fleet sea and shore Sailors. The winners will be announced during a luncheon March 10 at the Ala Moana Hotel in downtown Honolulu.

Sea Sailors of the Year finalists include: Yeoman 1st Class Mujahideen Alikhan, representing USS Emory S. Land (AS 39); Navy Diver 1st Class Nicholas Blankshine, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1; Culinary Specialist 1st Class Adam Fletcher, Carrier Strike Group 1; Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nicholas Paris, 23rd Dental Company; Information Systems Technician 1st Class Lance Parrish, Patrol and Reconnaissance Force 7th Fleet; Interior Communications Electrician 1st Class Brent Schermerhorn, USS Preble (DDG 88); Naval Aircrewman 1st Class William Stevens, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 51.

Finalists for the Shore Sailor of the Year are: Legalman 1st Class Kashetah Bedford, representing Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet; Personnel Specialist 1st Class Laura Godinez, 30th Naval Construction Regiment; Electronics Technician 1st Class Desiree Gonzales , Commander Task Force 72; Naval Aircrewman (Avionics) 1st Class David Matuska, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10; Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class Marquis Perry, Commander Submarine Pacific Fleet; Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Jason Robinson Assault Craft Unit 5; Construction Mechanic 1st Class Cole Tankersley, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

The Pacific Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year will be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer in Washington, D.C., later this year, and the shore selectee will go on to compete for the title of the U.S. Navy's Shore Sailor of the Year and promotion to chief.