SUBLANT Announces 2022 Sailors of the Year
22 April 2022
NORFOLK, Va. --
Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic (COMSUBLANT) announced the Shore and Sea Sailors of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony aboard Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, April 21.
Machinist’s Mate (Nuclear) 1st Class Paul Baker, Commander, Submarine Squadron Eight’s finalist, was named Submarine Force Atlantic’s (SUBLANT) Sea SOY. Yeoman 1st Class Kirk Lewis, Submarine Force Atlantic’s finalist, was named SUBLANT’s Shore SOY.
Baker, assigned to the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine Pre-commissioning Unit New Jersey (SSN 796), won his boat and squadron’s SOY competition before going on to win SUBLANT’s Sea SOY. As a result of winning, he will be pinned to the rank of chief petty officer after completing this year’s Naval Chief Petty Officer Initiation.
“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be selected as the Sea Sailor of the Year,” said Baker. “I was proud to represent my command and squadron. It was a great competition as all the Sailors displayed the qualities it takes to be a great leader at the next level. I look forward to seeing them in the fleet.”
Lewis, who serves as SUBLANT’s chief of staff administrative assistance, is responsible for processing flag level correspondence, travel and meeting coordination of all U.S. submarine and strategic commands.
“It’s an honor to be selected as the Shore Sailor of the Year by leadership,” said Lewis. “It means my supervisors, leaders and Sailors under me believed in me. I couldn’t have possibly got this far without them.”
Vice Adm. William Houston, commander, Submarine Forces, spoke on the finalists’ dedication and professionalism during the ceremony.
“Enlisted Sailors have always been the backbone of our Navy since its inception,” said Houston. “Seeing our finalists here today is a reminder of how committed our Sailors are to our country and carrying out the mission. This milestone shows how highly their leadership thinks of their professionalism, work ethic and dedication to duty. I am confident they will all go on to be remarkable leaders and continue to exemplify the best of our enlisted force.”
SUBLANT’s Force Master Chief Steve Bosco expressed the difficulty in selecting the Sea and Shore SOYs as all the finalists represented the very best of the forces’ enlisted Sailors.
“The finalists certainly made it difficult to pick a winner as they all displayed the very best qualities the Submarine Force has to offer,” said Bosco. “Their hard work and commitment has been recognized by leadership and they are all certainly deserving of the SOY. I am extremely proud of all of them and look forward to seeing them go on to be the next generation of the Submarine Forces’ enlisted leadership.”
As the Shore Sailor of the Year for COMSUBLANT, Lewis will compete in the 2022 Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command Sailor of the Year competition.
Sailor of the Year is a time-honored tradition introduced in 1972 by Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet. This annual competition is held to recognize superior performance of individual Sailors, who best exemplify the ideals of professional Sailor throughout the fleet.
The Submarine Force executes the Department of the Navy’s mission in and from the undersea domain. In addition to lending added capacity to naval forces, the Submarine Force, in particular, is expected to leverage those special advantages that come with undersea concealment to permit operational, deterrent and combat effects that the Navy and the nation could not otherwise achieve.
The Submarine Force and supporting organizations constitute the primary undersea arm of the Navy. Submarines and their crews remain the tip of the undersea spear.