SAN DIEGO -- Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC) announced its Sea and Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY) selections for fiscal year 2016, Jan. 27, during a reception at Naval Base Point Loma.
The reception concluded COMSUBPAC's participation in SOY recognition week, where 10 candidates representing various commands from the Pacific submarine community participated in events with each other and other finalists from throughout the Pacific Fleet.
"It was my pleasure to meet and greet 10 of the best submarine force Sailors who are serving on our submarines, support ships, and supporting commands," said COMSUBPAC Force Master Chief Paul Davenport. "It's been a wonderful opportunity to host this event here in San Diego, with the help of Submarine Squadron 11, and to pick two of the finest Sailors of the Year that the submarine force has seen to date."
Yeoman 1st Class Mujahideen Alikhan, from submarine tender USS Emory S. Land (AS 39), was selected as COMSUBPAC Sea Sailor of the Year.
"I am extremely proud to be representing the submarine community, COMSUBPAC, and my fellow submarine Sailors," said Alikhan. "I look forward to working hard, continuing to represent the Navy in the best way I know how, and taking this experience and carrying it back to the fleet."
Sonar Technician (Submarines) 1st Class Marquis Perry, assigned to COMSUBPAC staff, was named COMSUBPAC Shore Sailor of the Year. The two SOYs will go on to represent COMSUBPAC in the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet SOY competition.
"I am absolutely excited to represent COMSUBPAC at the next level, and I also can't wait to get back to my Sailors and educate them about what this week was all about and influence them to continue to do their jobs to the best of their ability," said Perry. "What has led me to be here are those Sailors who I take care of, and who take care of me back at home. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here."
The other finalists for Sea Sailor of the Year were:
- Sonar Technician (Submarines) 1st Class Barry Maag, Submarine Squadron 5, Unmanned Underwater Vehicle Det.
- Electrician's Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Dylan Castonguay, fast-attack submarine USS Mississippi (SSN 782)
- Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Elisabeth Oakes, USS Frank Cable (AS 40)
- Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Beth Mele, Naval Oceanographic Processing Facility Whidbey Island
"The Sailors here represent every Sailor in our submarine force," said Davenport. "Across the fleet, they represent 17 different warfare categories. We are the most diverse, versatile, and strong force the Navy has and the world has ever seen. Our submarine force gets stronger and stronger each year, as I've witnessed the last five years from being a judge of these candidates."
The other finalists for Shore Sailor of the Year were:
- Information Systems Technician 1st Class Nicholas Stenftenagel, Submarine Group 9
- Navy Diver 1st Class Andrew Murphy, Undersea Rescue Command
- Fire Controlman 1st Class Nathan Becker, Submarine Group 7
- Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Sarah Gregory, Commander, Undersea Surveillance
"I think the one thing we have most in common is heart," said Gregory. "I think we care a lot about the Navy, the people that we serve for, and who serve for us. I think that's one of the reasons we all grew so close -- because we are all compassionate and caring people."
According to Perry, the strongest asset the SOYs share is their dedication.
"We all make sure that we're accountable for each and every thing that we do, and we know how to have fun at the same time," said Perry.
He emphasized many of them can trace this trait back to inspired mentorship.
"I have been fortunate to have some pretty amazing leaders in my career so far," said Perry. "So what I've taken from those leaders is their sense of dedication and the way that they deal with Sailors each and every day. They have such a passion for what they do that has bled off to me and led me to be so passionate, as well."
Alikhan agreed, while also highlighting their shared sense of camaraderie.
"We love bringing each other up, as well as other shipmates, and making sure everyone is put in a position where they can maximize their potential and succeed," said Alikhan. "We all love the Navy, giving back to the Navy, and doing great things for the Navy."
These Sailors, those who mentor them and those they lead, support a Pacific submarine force which ensures America's critical access to maritime trade, provides defense against potential maritime threats, and projects power from the sea to the shores.
"I want to emphasize that across the submarine force today, we have nothing but talented submariners and Sailors," said Rear Adm. Frederick J. Roegge, COMSUBPAC. "These include both men and women in uniform, civilian submariners, and of course all of our industry partners who continue to make us the best submarine force in the world."