SAN DIEGO - Capt. James Morgan, Commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, recognized Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Petty Officer 1st Class Rachelle C. Mercado, as Carrier Strike Group 7 Sailor of the Year (SOY) for 2011, aboard destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) March 19.
The Sailor of the Year award recognizes Sailors for their hard work and dedication to the Navy core values.
"I am honored to present the DESRON 7 Sailor of the Year award to Petty Officer Mercado,” announced Capt. Morgan to a room full of Mercado's peers and leadership. "This award recognizes her as the very best our ships have to offer among a group of outstanding Sailors."
Commodore Morgan also presented Mercado with an award of the Navy Commendation Medal.
“Hard work does pay off, but I wouldn’t be here without the help of my fellow engineers and my young guys,” said Mercado. “They weren’t hard to teach and train, and help them succeed.”
Mercado advised any Sailor aiming for the SOY to do what’s right and play by the rules. She also hopes to promote to chief this year and finish school.
“It’s amazing,” said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) Senior Chief John Juran, of DESRON 7.
“It’s just so hard to describe. There’s so much pride that goes into it. I really wish I could take some of the credit, but I feel that Mercado excelled at everything she has done. I feel like I’ve learned just as much, if not more from her, than possibly she’s learned from me. It’s a team effort, there’s no doubt about it.”
Mercado competed with Sailors from USS Decatur (DDG 73), USS Thach (FFG 43), USS Benfold (DDG 65), USS Gary (FFG 51), USS Preble (DDG88) and USS Howard (DDG 83).
The award ceremony concluded with four additional USS Decatur personal awards and remarks by Morgan.
The mission of DESRON 7 is to conduct prompt, sustained combat operations at sea in support of the United State’s national policy. A DESRON commander serves as the administrative commander or Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC) of the ships assigned to the squadron. Each one of those ships is equipped to operate in a high-density, multi-threat environment either independently or as an integral member of a Carrier Strike Group or Expeditionary Strike Group.