– Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) announced the 2012 SURFPAC Sea and Shore Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a banquet at Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, Calif., Mar. 1, sponsored by the Surface Navy Association.
“Our nation is a maritime nation, one that began with six frigates. Today, we represent 70% of the fleet. I remain positive about where Surface Navy is headed; the oceans aren’t getting smaller and the world isn’t getting safer and our forces have a hard requirement to steam where and when needed and to be ready for anything—compassionate or kinetic,” said Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Chief of Staff, Capt. Roy Kitchener. “One of the primary reasons for the positive outlook is because of the unprecedented quality of Sailors in our fleet. I look out and see tremendous talent and dedication, despite the challenges we face. The Sailors of the Year; the Finalists; and the leadership from your respective commands give us great hope. “
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Petty Officer (AW/SW) Shawn-Patrick Bland was named the Sea SOY, and Construction Mechanic 1st Class Petty Officer (SCW/EXW) Daniel Perez, Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 1, was named Shore SOY. Over 400 guests, including spouses, command leadership teams, distinguished military guests, and community supporters attended the ceremony.
Bland, a native of Tampa, Fla., entered the Navy, Oct. 25, 2000. He attended Recruit Training Command with follow-on orders to Aviation Boatswain Mate (Handler) "A" School in Pensacola, Fla. His shore tour includes Recruiting Duty at Navy Recruiting District Ohio. His sea commands include USS Wasp (LHD 1) in Norfolk, Va and USS Makin Island (LHD 8) in San Diego, where he is currently assigned as Command Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor Assistant and Departmental 3M Assistant.
“It is surreal and humbling to be named the Sea Sailor of the year because I am not only representing myself, I am also representing everyone that has helped me get to this point in my Navy career including my wife, chain of command, mentors and the entire Makin Island Air Department,” said Bland. “It was an amazing experience to be able to participate this week and it was an honor to have the community’s full support for Sailors.”
Perez hails from Los Angeles and graduated from Duarte High School in 1994. He entered the Navy, Jan. 17, 1995. His duty assignments include Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five in Port Hueneme, Calif., Commander, Naval Special Warfare Group Three at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., and Inshore Boat Unit Five Three in Naval Outlying Landing Field, Imperial Beach, Calif. Perez is currently stationed at BMU 1, Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, Calif., where he performs duties as the Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor, Command Career Counselor, and Safety Officer.
“It was a great week because I was able to interact with our leadership and spend time with the top-ranking Sailors. This week gave us the opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience from each other,” said Perez. “They were many great first class petty officers up for Sailor of the year and I believe we were all able to get to this point because of our dedication, great mentors and support system.”
Eight 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 Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) tour and demonstration on the waterfront.
The finalists’ spouses also participated in the events with their Sailors and attended a media training session as well.
The top 2012 sea finalists are: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 1st Class Petty Officer (AW/SW) Shawn-Patrick Bland, USS Makin Island (LHD 8); Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/IUSS) Richard K. Cornish, USS McCampbell (DDG 85); Navy Counselor 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Phillip J. Lopez, USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108); Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Devon A. Luter, USS Hopper (DDG 70); Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/FMF) Augustine O. Osazuwa, Mine Countermeasures Ship Crew Conflict.
The top 2012 shore finalists are: Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/FMF) Eric W. Hurley, Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One; Construction Mechanic 1st Class Petty Officer (SCW/EXW) Daniel Perez, BMU 1; Information Systems Technician 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/AW) Lashandrea T. Young, Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific.
Bland and Perez 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 2010 Chief of Naval Operations Shore SOY.
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