By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody Beam, Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Deputy Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Theodore LeClair announced the 2019 U.S. 7th Fleet Sailor of the Year during a ceremony held at the Chief Petty Officer’s Club in Yokosuka, Japan Jan. 23rd.This year’s competition featured 10 Sailors competing for the prestigious title as the 2019 U.S. 7th Fleet Sea, Shore, and Reserve Sailor of the Year.“The Sailors we are here to honor today have represented their commands with distinction,” said Command Master Chief Jason Haka, command master chief of U.S. 7th Fleet. ”They made the already difficult choice for us, to pick one, almost impossible.”Rear Adm. LeClair announced Operations Specialist 1st Class Diana Park as 2019 U.S 7th Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year, Musician 1st Class Vincent Moody as U.S. 7th Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year, and Engineman 1st Class Pamela Alderson as U.S. 7th Fleet Reserve Sailor of the Year.All finalists received a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal at the ceremony.Rounding out the list of finalists were:Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Malcolm Williams from Commander Carrier Strike Group 5,Operations Specialist 1st Class Jane Michelle Tupasabuel from Commander Patrol Reconnaissance Wing One,Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Beatriz Byers from Commander Logistics Group Western Pacific,Operations Specialist 1st Class Katelyn Kincaid from U.S. Naval Forces Korea,Information System Technician 1st Class Justin Tessandori from Fleet Coordinating Group Yokosuka, Japan,Information System Technician 1st Class Raya Ivy from Navy Reserve U.S. 7th Fleet,and Culinary Specialist 1st Class Justin Escano from U.S. 7th Fleet Staff.“We are here to celebrate all of you," said LeClair. "The sailors who come from across the AOR and represent the very best of our 7th Fleet team.”“Your achievements represent not only our Navy but also your families and communities across the globe,” LeClair added.Park and Moody will go on to compete at the U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) Sailor of the Year competition in the spring.“Being here was a great experience and meeting other sailors of the year was great,” said Park. “I just want to thank everyone for the opportunity.”The announcement came at the end of the Sailor of the Year Week. During the week, the candidates participated in various activities such as tours of the U.S. and Japanese ships, professional leadership forums, and a community relations event in the community.The Sailors also attended a leadership symposium on Jan. 22. The attendees engaged senior leadership about complex topics such as leadership, junior-sailor mentoring and important lifestyle habits.Royal New Zealand Navy sailors of the year, Leading Physical Training Instructor Karumi Harema and Leading Electronics Technician Codi Wehi-Ngatai, also attended the three-day event.“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the candidates and everyone who is part of the program,” said Wehi-Ngatai. “I’m extremely humbled to be a part of this program and will pass on the wealth of information I have learned.”Adm. Elmo Zumwalt initiated the Sailor of the Year program in 1972, to recognize the outstanding Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. The following year, the Shore Sailor of the Year program was introduced.Each year, every U.S. Navy ship, station, and command around the world chooses its Sailor of the Year based on leadership, professionalism dedication, and superior performance. These selectees compete against recipients from other commands, eventually competing at higher echelons until the Navy's four finest are chosen.