Adm. Daryl Caudle, USFFC commander, named Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Matthew Malone, Marine Aircraft Group 26, from Baltimore, MD, as the 2021 Sea SOY and Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class (SW/AW/IW) Daneil Grace, Fighter Attack Squadron 106, from Montego Bay, Jamaica, as the Shore SOY.
“I believe that our Sailors are the single greatest competitive advantage against any adversary, hands down, no exceptions, and because of that, our Sailors should be and are held first and foremost in every single thing we do,” Caudle said. “To be true, our legacy as a Navy is defined by a long and impressive list of sailor accomplishments throughout our distinguished history. These Sailors that we honor this afternoon follow that legacy.”
The ceremony focused on the finalists’ sustained superior performance and how they’ve risen to become masters of their craft through technical, managerial, and leadership competency.
Grace thanked his chain of command and junior enlisted sailors as well as his mentors for contributing to his success.
“It’s really an honor to be chosen for this award,” said Grace. “I told my Senior Chief that I wanted this at the very beginning of the year and worked hard for it and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the Sailors in my daily life.”
“I’ve never received anything like this so it comes as a pleasant surprise,” said Malone. “I’ve got a great bunch of Sailors and a great Marine Corps command that helped me achieve this personal victory and it’s an honor to work alongside them.”
The ceremony capped off a week of rigorous interviews and team-building events focused on leadership, mentorship, and heritage.
In 1972, the SOY Program only recognized Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors. By 1983, the program had expanded to include shore duty and Navy Reserve Sailors. This year, based on recommendations from a Navy working group of top senior enlisted leaders throughout the Fleet, the Navy updated the SOY program this year to better align with Sailor 2025 initiatives. The update gave many type commanders the authority to select for meritorious promotion their top-performing eligible first class petty officers, effectively expanding the number of SOYs meritoriously advanced from four to 18.
Those Sailors selected for meritorious promotion will complete Chief Petty Officer Initiation prior to advancement later this year.
Finalists for Fleet Sea Sailor of the Year:
Legalman 1st Class Phillip Farris, Carrier Strike Group Twelve
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Matthew Malone, Marine Aircraft Group 26
Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Cherrelle Hendricks, Navy Munitions Command Atlantic Detachment Bahrain
Fire Controlman 1st Class Katherine Swol, U.S. 6th Fleet Maritime Component Commander, Tomahawk Land Attack Missile Detachment
Finalists for Fleet Shore Sailor of the Year:
Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Kendra Hall, Navy Munitions Command Atlantic Detachment Oceana
Yeoman 1st Class Kirk Lewis, Commander, Submarine Forces Atlantic
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rashad McKenzie, Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic
Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Daneil Grace, Fighter Attack Squadron 106 “The Gladiators”