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NEWS | April 12, 2024

NAVSEA Commander announces Sailor of the Year winners

By By NAVSEA Office of Corporate Communications

WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – Vice Adm. Jim Downey, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), announced the active duty and reserve 2023 Sailor of the Year award winners during a ceremony held at the Washington Navy Yard on April 11.

Hull Maintenance Technician 1st Class Jennifer Schleuning won the active-duty Sailor of the Year category and Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Matthew Lipscomb won the reserve Sailor of the Year category.

“Sailor of the Year recognizes the best of the best in our Navy — those Sailors who personify the Navy’s core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment,” said Downey during the ceremony. “Both of these Sailors to include all of our finalists have a bright future in our Navy. They are committed to their mission and make us stronger as they aspire to higher levels of responsibility.”

There were 10 finalists representing NAVSEA’s field activities, shipyards, and reserve units.

Finalists for active-duty Sailor of the Year were Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Francis Edquid, Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Newport News; Navy Diver 1st Class David Loofbourow, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility;  Fire Controlman Aegis 1st Class Brittney Nasiatka, Surface Combat Systems Center; and Navy Diver 1st Class Thomas Thocher, Navy Experimental Diving Unit Saturation Detachment.

Finalists for reserve Sailor of the Year were Master at Arms 1st Class Steven Fulkroad, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, Naval Security Forces, The Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center; Navy Diver 1st Class William Morton IV, Supervisor of Salvage and Diving, Dive East; Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Emmanuel Rivera Diaz, Southeast Regional Maintenance Center; and Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Kleber Toala, Southwest Regional Maintenance Center.        

”All of these Sailors are true professionals,” said NAVSEA Command Master Chief Blake Schimmel, “their commitment and professionalism toward our Navy inspires and motivates everyone around them I am proud to serve alongside each of these warfighters and call them Shipmates.”

The Sailor of the Year program was established by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in 1972 to recognize Sailors from the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets who exemplify the Navy's professionalism and personal dedication. The program expanded to award one outstanding Sailor from all shore locations across the Navy in 1973 and introduced the Navy Enlisted Reservist of the Year award in 1982.

In addition to attending the awards ceremony, finalists spent three days in Washington, D.C., meeting with NAVSEA and senior Navy leadership and visiting sites around the city, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the United States Navy Memorial.

Schleuning will go forward to compete for the CNO Navy Shore Sailor of the Year while Lipscomb will go forward to compete for Chief of Naval Reserve Sailor of the Year.