Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) welcomed eight Sailors to San Diego for its annual Sea and Shore Sailor of the Year (SOY) week. The Sailor of the Year program recognizes individuals who best represent each command and, ultimately, the Navy. The week’s events honor each of the finalists for their contributions to their commands and local communities while evaluating their military bearing, professional performance, and leadership skills. This week they are all competing for the Sailor of the Year title, which will be announced Friday evening. Learn a little about each of the fine Sailors below or check out their full bios and photos of the week’s events on the SURFPAC website..
Sailor of the Year Finalists (SEA)
IT1 (SW/IDW/AW) Pablo Baez, Jr. USS Cape St. George (CG 71)
A native of New York, New York, he enlisted in the Navy in 2001 as an Aviation Ordnanceman. His first duty station was Strike Fighter Squadron 136 (VFA-136), in NAS Oceana Virginia Beach, Virginia. During his tour he deployed on board USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) and USS George Washington (CVN 73).
Wanting to enhance his career, he decided to cross rate to Information Systems Technician. He went on to complete IT “A” School and was then stationed at NCTAMS PAC, Illinois. After three years of OCONUS duty, he volunteered for an Individual Augmentee Assignment to Iraq, where he worked jointly with the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and Iraqi Army. He returned after his deployment and received orders to NCTS Naples, Italy, and now serves as the Leading Petty Officer on board USS Cape St. George.
SH1 (SW/AW) Charles Agyeilarbi USS John S. McCain (DDG 56)
A native of Brooklyn, New York, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Oct. 15, 2003 and attended basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. Upon completion of recruit training, he attended Ship’s Serviceman “A” School in February 2004 in Meridian, Mississippi.
Upon graduation, he received orders to USS Nassau (LHA 4). During that tour he earned his Enlisted Surface and Aviation Warfare Specialist qualifications and advanced to the rank of Second Class Petty Officer. He deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
In March of 2009, he received orders to Naval Branch Health Clinic, Groton, Connecticut serving as Assistant Equipment Manager. In 2012, he transferred to USS John S. McCain home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, where he was selected for First Class Petty Officer. In October 2014, he became the leading petty officer for S-3 division and Departmental LPO.
His personal and professional education also includes SH “C” School for Supply Record Management and an Associates of Arts from Southern Illinois University, where he is currently pursuing his Bachelors degree in Workforce Education and Development.
HM1 (SW/AW/IDW) Corey Smith USS Essex (LHD 2)
After earning a bachelor’s degree in Sports Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 2006 and was the valedictorian of his Hospital Corps School “A” school in Great Lakes, Illinois, in October 2006. Smith attended Advanced Medical Laboratory School at the Naval School of Health Science in San Diego.
His first duty station was at Naval Hospital Pensacola, Florida where he advanced from HN to HM1 and served as the laboratory Leading Petty Officer before being selected for an Individual Augmentee billet at Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There he served as the leading laboratory technician providing patient care for three detainee camps.
He completed his Master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Healthcare Administration from Troy University in the spring of 2013.
Smith transferred to USS Essex in February 2014 and is currently serving as the Medical Department’s Leading Petty Officer, in charge of the largest afloat medical facility in the surface combatant fleet. He leads a staff of 70 enlisted personnel from three different commands, providing ECHELON II patient care in support of USS Essex, Amphibious Readiness Group 3, and 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
IC1 (SW) John A. Zion USS Decatur (DDG 73)
Zion enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2001. After completing recruit training he attended Interior Communications “A” school, and upon completion reported to USS Shiloh (CG 67).
He deployed with USS Shiloh in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Unified Assistance, in which the ship rendered aid to those who suffered from the 2004 tsunami off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia. In 2006 he deployed to Yokosuka, Japan for a crew-swap with USS Chancellorsville (CG 62).
He then transferred to Navy Operational Support Center, Buffalo, New York and in 2010 he reported to Defense Media Activity Vicenza, Italy where he earned the 2012 American Forces Network Europe Sailor of the Year award.
In 2012, he reported on board USS Decatur and deployed to the 5th Fleet Area of Operations. He was selected as Decatur’s 2013 Sailor of the Year and Destroyer Squadron Twenty-One (DESRON 21) Sailor of the Quarter. He is currently the Leading Petty Officer for ER09, and serves as the First Class Petty Officer Association Mess President. He recently completed his Associate’s Degree in General Studies from the University of Maryland University College.
Sailor of the Year Finalists (Shore)
YN1 (SW/AW) John F. Singleton, Jr Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific
Singleton enlisted in the Navy in January, 2003. He completed basic training and reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida, for airman apprenticeship training and received orders to VFA-122 at NAS Lemoore, California in May 2003.
In October 2004 he attended Yeoman “A” school at NTTC in Meridian, Mississippi.
He reported to VFA-22 in NAS Lemoore, California, in January 2005. There he advanced from YN3 to YN2, completed a WESTPAC deployment and a WESTPAC Surge from 2006-2007, and qualified as both an Enlisted Surface and Aviation Warfare Specialist. In 2008 he transferred to Commander, Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and then took orders to USS Lake Erie (CG 70) in May 2011 where he completed a 7th Fleet Surge in 2014.
He is currently assigned to Afloat Training Group Middle Pacific as the Command Career Counselor. He was selected as the Sailor of the Quarter 1st Quarter FY15 for commands ATG Middle Pacific and Navy Region Hawaii, and he is ATG MIDPAC’s Senior Sailor of the Year for FY2015.
LS1 (SW/AW) Anntionette E. Banks Commander, Mine Counter-Measures Squadron Three
Banks entered the Navy on Aug. 11, 1998 and completed Recruit Training in Great Lakes, Illinois.
Her first assignment was at Naval Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, as an undesignated seaman. After striking for Storekeeper, she advanced to Storekeeper Third Class. Her next assignment was with Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 74 in Gulfport, Mississippi. During this assignment, she advanced to Storekeeper Second Class and completed deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. She then transferred to Defense Distribution Center in Yokosuka, Japan, and Military Sealift Command, COMPSRON THREE, where she advanced to First Class Petty Officer.
After a successful tour at COMPSRON THREE, she continued her sea duty on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), where she completed a deployment to the Arabian Gulf. She is currently assigned to Commander, Mine Counter-Measures Squadron Three as the Supply Department Leading Petty Officer.
YN1 (SW/AW) Brandy D. Brossard Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
Brossard enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Aug. 5, 2002. Her first shore duty tour was at Naval Submarine Base Point Loma in San Diego, California. While stationed there she volunteered for Individual Augmentee (IA) Duty in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as part of the Joint Detainee Operations Battalion.
Sea duty assignments have included: Lead Master-At-Arms Fighter of Squadron VFA-195 in Atsugi, Japan, where she completed several Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) deployments on board USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS George Washington (CVN 73). She participated in Exercises Talisman Sabre, Foal Eagle, Valiant Shield, and Malabar.
She served as a Watch Commander at the security department at Naval Station Everett, Washington and also performed duties as VWAC, Assistant CIAC, Navy Marine Corps Fund Drive Command Key, Sponsorship Coordinator, Command Force Protection Team Member, and Administrative Supervisor.
She received her Associates Degree in General Studies from Central Texas College in 2006, and her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice Administration from Columbia College in 2009. She is currently serving at COMNAVSURPAC as the Acting LCPO in the Staff Admin Office.
STG1 (SW) Chad Gepfrey PCU Zumwalt
A native of Troy, Ohio, Gepfrey attended Sidney High School and graduated in 2001. After attending Edison State Community College for two years, he joined the U.S. Navy in 2004 and became the first generation of his family to serve in the military.
After completing Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois, he attended Sonar Technician “A” School and AN/SQQ-89(V) 4/6/10 Operator course in San Diego, graduating near the top of his class. Upon completion of training, he reported aboard the USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81). Here he advanced to the rank of Third Class Petty Officer and earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification pin. Completing two deployments with the ship, he was promoted to Second Class Petty Officer.
He left the ship in 2009 and completed the Enlisted Navy Recruiting Orientation in Pensacola, Florida before reporting to Navy Recruiting District Phoenix. He was then assigned to Navy Recruiting Station Bell Canyon and served as Recruiter in Charge of one of the largest stations in his command. He was promoted to Petty Officer First Class in 2011, and married the love of his life, Carly, in 2012.
In 2013, while completing the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Journeyman pipeline in San Diego, he was hand-selected for duty on board PCU Zumwalt, located in Bath, Maine. Since on board he served as the Sonar Division LPO and leading Antiterrorism Training Supervisor.