Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang

BREMERTON, Washington – Four Sailors received Sailor of the Year awards during an all hands call in USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) hangar bay, Nov. 7.

Petty Officer 1st Class Luis Diaz received the Senior Sailor of the Year, Petty Officer 2nd Class Demetrius Souza received Sailor of the Year, Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Patrick, received Junior Sailor of the Year and Seaman Jamal Gay received Blue Jacket of the Year.

“I was ecstatic that all my hard work finally paid off,” said Gay, who works in John C. Stennis’ aircraft intermediate maintenance department, from Woodbridge, New Jersey. “My chain of command noticed it.”

The Sailors were chosen through a rigorous screening process that looked at each Sailor’s performance during the last fiscal year.

Sailors are judged on a number of criteria including involvement in the command and the community, their job performance, awards received, warfare qualifications earned and college courses taken.

“There were some pretty squared away Sailors I was competing against,” said Patrick, an aviation medical technician, from Clinton, Maryland. “I was happy just to be considered.”

The chain of command at the department level chooses Sailors from their department, taking into consideration all of their accomplishments. The selected Sailors from each department then compete at command level and stand before a panel of senior leadership, who look for confident responses and military bearing.

“Being selected for Senior Sailor of the Year is a very humbling feeling,” said Diaz, John C. Stennis’ command career counselor, from Victorville, California. “You have this panel of senior leadership that are reviewing what you’ve done this past year and to make the determination: ‘Yes, this is the Sailor that best represents us.'”

The awardees work in different areas of the ship but they all have one thing in common. They went above and beyond what is required of them, participating in community service events and taking an active role in command organizations.

“Everyone that thinks hard work goes unnoticed,” said Souza, the air department yeoman, from Tampa, Florida. “This shows my junior sailors, just work hard and someone will notice the fruits of your labor.”

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