Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Erric L. Apeland, assigned to Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic’s Defense Health Readiness Engineering (DHRE) team, was selected from among three finalists from across the command.
"HM1 Erric L. Apeland was selected from a group of extraordinary sailors who demonstrated integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness in rapidly delivering information warfare capabilities from seabed to space and through cyberspace, enabling a competitive edge in all warfighting domains," said NAVWAR Commander Rear Adm. Christian Becker. "Apeland's contributions to the Theater Medical Information Program Maritime are a huge step towards digitizing our Navy, and will dramatically increase the safety and readiness of our fleet today and in the coming decades."
Apeland was nominated alongside Information Technician 1st Class Patrick B. Myles, NIWC Pacific, and Personnel Specialist 1st Class Phetsamy Sengdaoellis, assigned to NAVWAR.
“Sailor of the Year is an extraordinary honor and we are extremely proud of HM1 Apeland and the impact he has made to NIWC Atlantic and NAVWAR,” said NIWC Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Wes Sanders.
The SOY award is sponsored by the Chief of Naval Operations and provides recognition to Sailors that emulate and demonstrate superior performance, mission contribution, proven leadership, dedication to self-improvement and outstanding professionalism.
“It still feels surreal to me,” said Apeland. “What I had to do to get here was not an easy feat but fortunately it hasn’t been just me. It’s my entire chain of command, my Sailors that are around me every day; this recognition really goes to them as well.”
Lt. Sonia Suarez, NIWC Atlantic engineering project lead and military department head, spoke about Apeland and how deserving he is of the award.
“He has been an unsung hero, working behind the scenes to ensure our medical professionals have the tools they need to provide the safest and highest quality healthcare to our service members at the tip of the spear,” said Suarez. “It’s wonderful to see him recognized at this level, as he so deserves.”
In the last fiscal year, Apeland led 15 systems administrators managing a network for 475 physical assets, more than 450 users and 87 video teleconferences. As part of his duties, he also oversaw more than 400 hours of system training to assigned fleet personnel, a key element in resolving close to 2,400 command trouble tickets.
“He takes pride in his commitment to maintaining the highest standards, especially when it comes to training,” said Suarez. “He honors the fact that modern warfighters come from diverse backgrounds and cultures, with different learning styles. He chooses training methods for the right purpose and audience, often blending his delivery approach; knowing that if customers can learn according to their style and immediate needs, effective training can result in rapid learning.”
Sanders lauded Apeland for his dedication to excellence and for his daily impact to the warfighter.
“Apeland’s work to support the digital transformation of the military’s medical systems is a critical component in ensuring our warfighters are not only medically ready but can easily deploy across the globe at a moment’s notice,” said Sanders. “His contributions are making a difference and his actions epitomize our Navy Core Values of honor, courage and commitment.”