SURFPAC Welcomes 2013 Sailor of the Year Finalists

Story Number: NNS140212-08Release Date: 2/12/2014 1:59:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Karolina Oseguera, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The staff of Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) welcomed seven Sailors and their spouses for the annual Sea and Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY) Week in San Diego, Feb. 9-14.

Each year, the SURFPAC SOY Program recognizes Sailors who best represent the large number of superior and dedicated professionals within SURFPAC squadrons and shore commands.

The events of the week honor each finalist for their contributions to their commands and local communities while evaluating their military bearing, professional performance and leadership skills as they compete for the SOY title.

"It's a great honor for each of these seven Sailors to have been selected to compete at this level," said SURFPAC Force Master Chief (SW/AW) Brannon Knox. "These Sailors represent the highest levels of honor, courage and commitment to the Navy and our nation."

Knox said one of the most valuable parts of the SOY competition is the opportunity for nominees to share their personal experiences and learn from one another.

"Each of these Sailors bring a lot of knowledge, experience and skills to the fleet," said Knox. "These are the future leaders of the Navy who will help to make the Surface Force a better place for all of our Sailors."

Finalists and their family members will be recognized by various military and civilian community leaders through office calls and social functions throughout the week.

The Sailors will participate in board interviews, command events and community outreach activities, including meeting with Pearl Harbor survivors, a visit to the USS Midway Museum, the San Diego Zoo and other local attractions. They will also attend a variety of personal and professional development sessions at SURFPAC headquarters.

The week will conclude with the announcement of the sea and shore Sailors of the Year at a banquet at the Admiral Kidd Catering and Conference Center in San Diego, Feb. 14. The Senior Sailor of the Year for each SURFPAC command in the San Diego area will also be recognized during the event.

The 2013 sea finalists are: Master-at-Arms 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Raymond A. Cuevas, USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60); Master-at-Arms 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/AW/EXW) Nicholas S. Fessler, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6); Electrician's Mate 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Desmond C. Johnson, USS Dewey (DDG 105); and Legalman 1st Class Petty Officer (SW/AW) Raysa A. Turner, USS Essex (LHD 2).

The 2013 shore finalists are: Hull Technician 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Donipaul H. Briscoe, Afloat Training Group Western Pacific; Quartermaster 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Erika A. Lira, Assault Craft Unit Five; and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Petty Officer (FMF/EXW/PJ) Jeremiah D. McArthur, Pre-Commissioning Unit Jackson (LCS 6).

"This is a very humbling experience," said Legalman 1st Class Raysa A. Turner. "My Sailors helped me get here and I wish they could all be here to experience what this is like. If I win, I am going to take all of my Sailors to breakfast."

The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize an individual who best represented each command and ultimately the entire Navy.

For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit, or follow the Surface Force at; and on Twitter @surfacewarriors.

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