PACFLT Sea and Shore Sailors of Year announced

Sailor of the Year (SOY) fi nalists pay respects to the fallen Sailors of the USS Arizona, aboard the USS Arizona Memorial. The SOY finalists are participating in a variety of personal and professional evaluations, as well as leadership, naval heritage and team-building events throughout the week around historic Pearl Harbor.

Story and photo by MC1 Rebecca Wolfbrandt

Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii

Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), announced Culinary Specialist 1st Class Latoya S. Farrish as 2017 PACFLT Sea Sailor of the Year (SOY) and Construction Mechanic 1st Class Cole K. Tankersley as the Shore SOY during a ceremony hosted by Honolulu Navy League’s Community Partners at the Hale Koa hotel in Honolulu March 23.

The two winners were selected among 14 finalists.

“These Sailors here this week represent the best that the Navy has to offer,” said U.S. Pacific Fleet Master Chief James Honea. “I feel honored and privileged to serve with Sailors of this quality.”

Farrish a native of Reidsville, North Carolina and representing USS Essex (LHD 2) will fly to Washington, D.C. in May to be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer.

“I would like to thank my leadership, my mentors, and especially all my junior Sailors,” Farrish said. “Without them I would not even be here.”

Tankersley, a native of Hillsboro, Oregon, representing Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, will travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year competition.

“This is the result of the support from my family, my command and the Sailors who work under me,” Tankersley said. “It validates the years of hard work, support and sacrifice made by myself and everyone who has helped get me here today.

The journey to become SOY included evaluations by boards of senior enlisted at each echelon of command.

“It’s a roller coaster,” Tanker-sley said. “All of the emotional ups and downs, all the while being under such tremendous pressure, had resulted in one of the greatest learning experiences of my career.”

Leading up to the ceremony, the 14 finalists toured Pearl Harbor and surrounding areas to learn about its rich naval history and heritage. Their tour included visits to the Battleship Missouri Memorial and the USS Arizona Memorial. During their time on the Arizona Memorial they honored the Sailors who lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor with a wreath-laying ceremony.

The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by Former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize an individual Sailor who best represents the group of dedicated professional Sailors at each command and, ultimately, in the Navy.

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