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Petty Officer 1st Class Tyrone Graves
Petty Officer 1st Class Tyrone Graves ()

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY NAPLES, Italy — For the second consecutive year, a Naples sailor has been named Military Sealift Command Shore Sailor of the Year.

And it’s the same sailor.

Petty Officer 1st Class Tyrone Graves, a boatswain’s mate at Capodichino, was selected from more than 1,100 servicemembers assigned to MSC worldwide.

Graves traveled to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to compete against five sailors for the honor.

“I went in there not expecting to win because I won last year, and the quality of people was real tough,” said Graves, 34, from Sumter, S.C.

During the awards ceremony, the other nominees were called up to receive Navy Achievement medals.

“When I didn’t hear my name, I was looking around, like, ‘Hey, where’s my award?’ ” Graves said. “Then they called me up and presented me with the plaque for winning the sailor of the year.”

Graves, who is assigned to the operations and readiness department, coordinates the delivery of millions of barrels of aviation and diesel fuel to bases, ships and aircraft, and thousands of tons of dry cargo within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, which stretches from Norway to South Africa.

He was recognized for his work in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, when he deployed in March to the port of Thessaloniki, Greece. As command representative, he oversaw cargo operations involving eight foreign-flag vessels.

During the year, Graves also facilitated the flow of more than 250 ships to and from the Middle East. He wrote orders for cargo ships in the Mediterranean that sent them through the Suez Canal to Kuwait.

“That’s a skill set that’s typically assigned to guys who are much more senior like lieutenants, lieutenant commanders,” said MSC Europe’s operations officer, Cmdr. Keith Kowalski. “He was thrown into that job and he excelled.”

Graves, who joined MSC in Naples in 2002, was honored last year for his efforts during peacekeeping operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

Graves now is looking to compete for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations Sailor of the Year competition.

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