By U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Devin S. Randol
Norfolk, VA- Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (COMNAVAIRLANT), Rear Adm. John Meier announced the Fiscal Year 2020 Junior Sailor of the Year and the 2020 Senior Sailor of the Year for COMNAVAIRLANT, Jan. 22.
U.S. Navy Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class Dorothea L. Allen was named the Senior Sailor of the Year, and Navy Culinary Specialist (Submarine) Petty Officer 2nd Class Ralph K. Joseph was named the Junior Sailor of the Year.
Allen, a native of North Carolina, upon hearing the news of her selection, expressed gratitude and humility, as well as surprise and a determination to pay it forward.
“I’m really shocked,” she laughed. “I’m just really honored, and I don’t really feel like I deserve it, but I really appreciate the recognition. I definitely feel an obligation to mentor junior Sailors and help them to get into the same place that I’m in for next year‘s awards!”
Likewise, Joseph, a native of Haiti who later relocated to Orlando, Florida, felt humbled by the Admiral’s decision to select him. He expressed great pride in the work and the individuals who raised him to his current height.
“It reiterates to me that nothing is given to you,” he said. “You’ve got to earn it, even if you think you’re there, you’re not there yet; there’s always another level. With the right leadership and mentorship, you’ll keep getting back up, keep going harder and what you’ll do is get recognized for it. I want to thank my mentors and my leaders, especially Chief Josie Paulino, who put me in this position.”
Both Allen and Joseph were able to rise above the competition with their individual positive attitudes. Their enthusiasm raised morale and spread to their fellow Sailors. Outside the workplace, the two winners also took great effort to make a difference in the community as well.
Allen, previously earning Sailor of the Quarter for the third Quarter of 2020, encouraged her junior Sailors to get involved with college programs, and assisted them in becoming fully qualified in over 200 training sessions. Excelling in her collateral duties as well, she’s taken on the roles of both Command Urinalysis Coordinator and Sexual Assault Prevention Response Victim Advocate. Furthermore, she donated over $1,000 to various charities.
Joseph, exhibiting his true skill and devotion to his work, helmed a complete overhaul of the galley menu, adding 50 new healthy and nutritious options. On top of that, he successfully balanced the Mess Hall’s $8,000 budget with 100 percent accuracy. Outside of his busy full-time work in the kitchen, he completed over 50 hours of volunteering with Virginia-based organizations.
Meier noted just how strong the competition for this year’s selection was, and was proud to acknowledge the winners.
“This is a fantastic problem to have,” he began. “To select amongst a group of superstars – our best and brightest in the command! Thanks to everybody who nominated, supported, and mentored these petty officers into the program. To the winning Sailors, I would ask that you pay it forward as well. Mold others in your image – that’s really our charge. Congratulations to our Sailor of the Year, and our Junior Sailor of the Year!”
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 exceed in personifying the ideals of the Navy Core Values.
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic is responsible for four nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 50,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel based on the East Coast of the United States. It provides combat ready, sustainable naval air forces with the right personnel, properly trained and equipped, with a focus on readiness, operational excellence, interoperability, safety, and efficient resourcing.