Submarine Group Two Honors ‘Crème of the Crop’ During Awards Ceremony
Groton, Conn. - Four Sailors were chosen as the 2009 Junior and Sailor of the Year for Submarine Group Two during an awards banquet at the Groton Inn and Suites Jan. 28.
The winners were:
Shore Sailor of the Year: Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Lyon Ju Kennelly, Naval Submarine Support Center, Norfolk, VA (Norfolk finalist)
Sea Sailor of the Year: Machinist's Mate 1st Class Bradley Albers, USS San Juan (SSN 751) (Groton finalist)
Shore Junior Sailor of the Year: Machinist Mate 2nd Class Darnell Henson, Navy Submarine Torpedo Facility, Norfolk, VA (Norfolk finalist)
Sea Junior Sailor of the Year: Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Samuel Ruiz, USS Newport News (SNN 750) (Norfolk finalist)
The winners reacted differently to the announcement.
Kennelly, a native of Kuala Belait, Brunei Darussalam, thanked those who helped make her successful. “It’s not just one person per se," she said. "It’s a whole group of people. I owe a lot to the support of my command and my husband.”
Albers, of Columbia, IL, offered advice. “Always look for the next big thing,” said Albers. “There’s never a time you should stop whether it be the next officer program or qualification because the minute you stop, the next big thing might not come along.”
Both Henson and Ruiz were humbled. “It’s still registering right now,” said Henson, of Washington, DC. “When they announced it, I don’t think I really heard what they said; I couldn’t believe it.”
“I take a lot of pride in my achievement,” said Ruiz of Palos Heights, IL. “It’s humbling to think that they, of all those great junior sailors, selected me.”
The four winners were among twelve finalists, representing the Groton, Norfolk and Portsmouth areas, who participated in a weeklong competition, which included interviews by a panel of Navy Chief Petty Officers, community events, such as a visit to the Rocky Hill Veterans Home, and the awards banquet.
“This is my favorite week of the year,” said Command Master Chief Rafael Perez. “It's an honor to pay tribute to the men and women who work their butts off everyday and make us senior guys look really good. I drop everything else on my schedule for these men and women. When I leave and go on to bigger and better things, I’m going to miss this the most.”
Rear Adm. Paul J. Bushong, Commander, Submarine Group Two, praised all the finalists during a reception earlier in the week.
"Most of you are associated with the submarine force - either working on submarines, supporting submarines or actually serving on submarines. And in that case, you're even making a bigger difference. You're part of a smaller crew - every person depending on everyone else - and you really are fulfilling a noble purpose. I congratulate you particularly in that you have stood out even from all of those other fine patriots who are serving their nation and making a difference. Each of you who has been selected as being the crème of the crop that very select group. I applaud you for your service," said Bushong.
The winners now advance to the next level of competition, Junior and Sailor of the Year for Commander, Submarine Force.
Adm. Elmo Zumwalt initiated the Navy-wide Sailor of the Year program in 1972 to recognize the outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The following year, the Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced. Sponsored by the chief of Naval Operations, the program provides recognition to the Navy's outstanding Sailors through numerous presentations, awards, and meritorious advancement to the next pay grade.
GROTON, Conn. – Rear Adm. Paul Bushong, Commander Submarine Group 2, welcomes the Sailor of the year nominees during a kick-off social aboard Naval Submarine Base New London Jan. 25. “I congratulate you for standing out from all of those other fine patriots who are serving their nation and making a difference,” said Bushong. “Each of you have been selected as being the creme of the crop. I applaud you for your service.” U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.
Rocky Hill, Conn. – Electronics Technician Second Class Sergio Torres, nominee for Submarine Group 2 Junior Sea Sailor of the Year, eats lunch and exchanges stories with a Connecticut veteran at during a visit to the Department of Veterans Affairs home in Rocky Hill Jan. 26. The nominees toured the veteran’s home as part of several military and community events recognizing them for their performance. U.S. Navy photo by Electronics Technician Second Class Mark Moore.
Rocky Hill, Conn. -- Religious Program Specialist First Class Lyon Ju Kennelly, nominee for Submarine Group 2 Shore Sailor of the Year, and Sonar Technician Submarine First Class William McDade, nominee for Submarine Group 2 Sea Sailor of the Year, visit with veterans during a visit to the Department of Veterans Affairs home in Rocky Hill. The nominees toured the veteran’s home Jan. 27 as part of several military and community events recognizing them for their performance. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.
GROTON, Conn. – Commands from Norfolk, Portsmouth and Groton areas fill a banquet hall at the Groton inn and Suites, Jan. 28, to honor and recognize Sailors selected as the 2009 Sailor of the Year for their commands. The winners of Submarine Group 2 Sailor of the Year were also announced. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.
GROTON, Conn. –The winners for Submarine Group 2 Sailor of Year, from left, Religious Programs Specialist First Class Lyon Kennelly from Naval Submarine Support Center Norfolk; Machinist’s Mate First Class Bradley Albers from USS San Juan (SSN 751); Electrician’s Mate Second Class Samuel Ruiz from USS Newport News (SSN 750); and Machinist’s Mate Second Class Darnell Henson from Naval Submarine Torpedo Facility Yorktown pose with Submarine Group 2 Command Master Chief Rafael Perez and Chief of Staff Capt. Frank Lowery following their selection at an awards banquet held Jan. 28. These four Sailors will advance to the next level of competition, Junior and Sailor of the Year for Commander, Submarine Force. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Steven Myers.