A petty officer first class from Rota, Spain, is the only overseas sailor who is a finalist for this year’s vice chief of naval operations shore sailor of the year competition.

Petty Officer 1st Class Heather Stokes is the Naval Security Group Activity’s leading petty officer for the missions, plans and reports division. She’s also a Russian linguist.

“There are great sailors out there,” the St. Louis native said about the upcoming weeklong competition.

“Just to be up there around the other great sailors is just a fabulous honor.”

She will leave for Washington on Friday.

Stokes, who has 14 years of naval service, was recently selected as the worldwide Naval Security Group sailor of the year and has twice been the Rota NSGA sailor of the year since arriving in January 2003.

“She’s involved in everything,” said Chief Petty Officer Richard Anderson, the division’s leading chief petty officer.

“She’s an integral part of her command and community.”

Anderson said that Stokes also has been deployed for six months out of the past year.

“She definitely deserves to be where she’s at,” he explained about her selection as a competition finalist.

“One of these days I’ll be working for her,” he joked.

If selected as the naval shore activities sailor of the year, Stokes will face off against sailors of the year from Naval Forces Europe and the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets for the chief of naval operations shore sailor of the year title.

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