Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) announced the 2013 SURFPAC Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a banquet at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center in San Diego, Feb. 14, sponsored by the Surface Navy Association.
Master-at-Arms 1st Class Petty Officer(SW/AW/EXW) Nicholas S. Fessler, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), was named the Sea SOY, and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Petty Officer(FMF/EXW/PJ) Jeremiah D. McArthur, Pre-Commissioning Unit Jackson (LCS 6), was named Shore SOY. More than 400 guests, including spouses, command leadership teams, distinguished military guests, and community supporters attended the ceremony.
Fessler, a native of a native of Prescott Valley, Ariz., entered the Navy, Aug. 31, 2004. He attended Recruit Training Command with follow-on orders to Master-at-Arms “A” School in San Antonio, Texas.
His shore tour includes Naval Station Mayport, Fl. His sea commands include Mobile Security Squadron Seven, Detachment 73 in Santa Rita, Guam and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in Sasebo, Japan, where he is currently assigned as the Executive Leading Petty Officer and the Command Anti-Terrorism Training Supervisor.
“One thing that my grandfather told me was ‘you make chief the very first day you join the Navy. How long it takes to wear those anchors is determined upon you’” said Fessler. “I was blessed with a lot of great mentors. A lot of those leaders pointed me in the right direction which led to me standing here today.”
McArthur hails from Little Rock, Ark and entered the Navy on Oct. 31, 1996. His duty assignments include Chemical Biological Incident Response Force in Camp Lejeune, N.C., Field Medical Service School (East) at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Special Operation Training Group in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
McArthur is currently stationed at Pre-Commissioning Unit Jackson (LCS 6) where he performs duties as an IDC and Leading Petty Officer.
“I am really excited to represent SURFPAC and I am very honored,” said McArthur. “This award has a lot to do with the people who are around me. All the Chiefs of my past mentored me and really developed me into who I am today. All the things that I do wouldn’t be possible without the support of my wife. You have to have that other half to keep you strong.”
Seven finalists took part in board interviews, command events and a series of community outreach activities, which included meeting with Pearl Harbor survivors, a visit to USS Midway Museum, the San Diego Zoo and other local attractions.
The finalists also attended professional development sessions at SURFPAC headquarters and a submarine tour aboard the USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723). The finalists’ spouses also participated in the events with their Sailors and attended Fleet and Family Support Center training sessions as well.
“It was a challenging decision,” said SURFPAC Force Master Chief Brannon Knox. “They just get better and better every year. This is the best part of my job; to be able to work with these Sailors one week out of the year.”
Fessler and McArthur will now compete in Hawaii against Pacific Fleet nominees vying for the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT) Shore and Sea Sailor of the Year titles. The sea and shore-based commands of COMPACFLT represent more than 200,000 Sailors.
The top COMPACFLT Sea Sailor will be eligible for meritorious promotion to chief petty officer and the Shore SOY will move on to competition in Washington, D.C., for possible designation as the 2013 Chief of Naval Operations Shore SOY.