NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Two sailors received a great honor Friday in Norfolk. Admiral Phil Davidson, Commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, announced the 2016 Fleet Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year.
Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Courtney Evers, of Navy Information Operations Detachment Kaneohe Bay, was named the 2016 Sea Sailor of the Year and Personnel Specialist 1st Class Aliscia Malone, of U.S. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, won Shore Sailor of the Year.
“All the Sailor of the Year candidates represent the best the United States Navy has to offer. They all exemplify the attributes of integrity, initiative, accountability, and toughness. The selection process was not an easy one,” said Davidson. “Petty Officers Evers and Malone deserve this honor and are role models for the rest of the fleet.”
The two winners were called on stage with the admiral to be recognized as the crowd, which included those whom they competed against, applauded.
“Integrity, initiative, accountability, toughness… I think you’re seeing that here behind us,” Adm. Davidson said.
Those traits, along with performance, duty, leadership, self improvement, personal appearance and community involvement led these sailors to the top 10 finalists. (You can see a list of finalists below.)
The candidates spent the week participating in Navy heritage events and were interviewed by a panel of master chief petty officers as the final winners were determined.
Evers was honored by her selection. She offered these words to her fellow nominees: “You guys are all amazing, we wouldn’t be here if we weren’t helping each other out and having each other’s backs.”
Malone was proud to have been selected and recognized that she was up against the best in the fleet. She thanked her biggest supporter, her husband.
“No one person can be here alone,” Malone said. “This is such an honor.”
10 On Your Side spoke with both sailors, who talked about what this recognition means to them.
“It means a lot. What I hope to be is a beacon of hope to all junior sailors who have made mistakes along the way, to know that hard work and dedication — it pays off,” Malone said.
“I have amazing leaders that selected me for Sailor of The Year at my command, and they believed in me, they mentored me,” Evers said. “I am here because of a direct reflection of my leadership and the sailors that I work for, absolutely.”
Evers plans to travel to Washington, D.C., and will be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer by the Chief of Naval Operations. Malone will advance to the final selection process for the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year.
Initially only Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors on sea duty were recognized. Within 10 years, however, the Sailor of the Year program was expanded to include shore duty and Navy Reserve Sailors.
Finalists for Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year:
- Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF/SW/AW) Benjamin Foy
Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM), 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, 2D Marine Division
- Electricians Mate 1st Class (EXW/SW) Kelelu Kromah
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Expeditionary Support Unit (ESU) 2
- Sonar Technician (Submarine) 1st Class (SS) Thomas Hudgins
Submarine Force Atlantic (SUBLANT), USS Florida (SSGN-728) (BLUE)
- Intelligence Specialist 1st Class (IW/AW/EXW/SW) Kevin Pulley
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa / U.S. 6th Fleet, Maritime Coordination Committee for Tomahawk Land Attack Missile Strike Coordination Detachment, Naples, Italy
Finalists for Fleet SHORE Sailor of the Year:
- Aviation Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class (IW/EXW) Brittany Burris
United States Fleet Forces, United States Fleet Forces Command
- Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Christopher Carter
Naval Air Force Atlantic (AIRLANT), Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 40
- Operations Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Circia Howe
Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT), Afloat Training Group
- Yeoman 1st Class (SS) Fausto Viera
Submarine Force Atlantic (SUBLANT), Submarine Squadron 16
- Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class (IW/SW/AW) Jaxi Sehorn
Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR), Farragut Technical Analysis Center