GROTON, Conn. (October 23, 2017)– Naval Submarine School has selected Aircrew Survival Equipmentman 1st Class (Air Warfare) Zachary Maxey as its 2017 Sailor of the Year, SOY.
Maxey is the Command Facilities Manager, assigned to the Training Support Department, charged with overseeing the care and maintenance of all Naval Submarine School, training buildings, barracks and administrative support and warehouse spaces.
Maxey, a native of Caroline County, Virginia, joined the Navy in the fall of 2003 with a plan he says, “to see the world and go to college.” Smiling, he adds, “but life changes and so do plans. I’ve remained in the Navy because I’ve enjoyed every assignment and hope I have made a positive difference in the course of my career."
An Aircrew Survival Equipmentman petty officer is not an everyday occurrence at a submarine training command, and Maxey concedes he was as surprised to receive orders to Naval Submarine School as some on the school’s staff were to welcome him. “When my detailer gave me my orders, I did a sort of double-take and asked him if he was absolutely sure, and he was.”
As Naval Submarine School’s Sailor of the Year, Maxey will represent the command when the Submarine Learning Center makes its selection in the coming weeks from across its training sites for the opportunity to be named Naval Education and Training Command’s 2017 Sailor of the Year.
Meanwhile Maxey is still getting used to being the Submarine School SOY.
“The selection means a great deal to me especially since there are over one hundred and fifty First Class Petty Officers from whom I was selected. I know first-hand of the high quality of all those who were nominated, so just to have been considered is an honor.”
Thieme also noted Maxey had successfully accomplished all required qualifications to be designated a Master Training Specialist, MTS. Maxey thought long and hard before choosing to qualify for MTS.
“I decided to pursue the Master Training Specialist qualification to help diversify myself, and also to make myself a better leader/mentor. There are also a number of college credits that are earned once the qualification is complete, so it really is a win-win situation.
“The qualification process, specifically the theories and key learning aspects really do open your eyes to how different people learn. It’s not a cut and dried approach, but is something that varies from person to person. Qualifying, I now know how to appeal to different types of learners and help them fully understand the material.
“I also think a constant desire to learn is what drives us as humans, so it was important for me to better myself so I can help people learn and achieve their goals in the future.”
Learning to be a facilities manager, notes Maxey, with some understatement, was a rather steep learning curve.
“One of the most challenging aspects is the high level of coordination involved with the staff, training schedule, and contractor work times. We always try to minimize our footprint when doing some of the big jobs so that training can continue as scheduled even though there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot of people to keep up to date as changes occur.
“The two most rewarding aspects of this job are being able to support world-class training by ensuring building upkeep and contractor maintenance is performed, and the interaction I have with initial accession students. This is my first assignment with Sailors from boot camp, and it is rewarding to have a positive impact on a young Sailor's life and career.”
Maxey was previously recognized for outstanding performance as the Naval Submarine School Sailor of the Third Quarter of 2017.
As Naval Submarine School’s Command Master Chief Eric Murphy noted, consideration and selection of the Sailor of the Year was, as it so often is, extremely difficult because of the caliber of the Sailors being considered.
”You’re trying to name the Most Valuable Player on an All-Star Team,” he said, “And every Sailor who was considered had consistently demonstrated sustained superior performance.”
Maxey thinks Sailor recognition programs are important, both to the Sailor and to the Navy. “Awards are important to an individual Sailor because they formally document exemplary professional performance. But awards also benefit the organization as a means to publicly thank Sailors for their hard work and dedication, and to show the command values their service.”
While he awaits the results of the SLC selection competition, Maxey continues to prepare for his next chapter in life which includes relocation to Whidbey Island, Washington. “There I’ll be attached to an electronic attack squadron (VAQ-136), and deploying to the western pacific.
“My professional goals are to requalify within my rate, requalify as an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist, qualify as a Surface Warfare Specialist, and be selected for Chief Petty Officer. In the long run, I’m hoping to complete my Bachelor's Degree and then work towards a Master’s.”