Award-winning year for AFN Sasebo crew
May 4, 2006
Sasebo Naval Base Seaman Alec Noe wanted something with impact for his AFN radio commercial on swearing.
Set to the chipper “Andy Griffith Show” theme, Noe had the voice of a little girl talking to her mom about lunch. Asked whether the food was yummy, the girl replies, with the help of an electronic bleep, “actually mom, this sandwich is [expletive] terrible.”
“It kind of popped into my head,” Noe said. “I wanted it to be a shocker.”
The horrified mother than asks where her little angel learned such a word. The girl answers, from sailors on base, of course.
The moral, a voiceover says: “Just because you’re a sailor doesn’t mean you have to curse like one.”
Noe’s commercial won over the base community, much to his surprise: “I was actually kind of worried it wouldn’t see the light of day,” he said.
It also earned him the top radio spot award for the entire military: a Thomas Jefferson Award presented by the American Forces Information Service and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs.
Noe isn’t alone. Sasebo’s American Forces Network detachment earned three other Jefferson awards and an honorable mention.
Sasebo spokesman Charles T. Howard, a former Navy master chief who ran three AFN detachments during his 27-year active-duty career, said he knew of no other attachment being awarded four TJs at once.
“It says a lot,” he said. “First place for all four services. If you can win, that’s a mark of success.”
Each year, military print, broadcast and radio journalists compete in their respective branches for top journalism honors.
The best in each service then compete for the Thomas Jeffersons.
Sasebo earned two TJs last year, the first time the base detachment earned any in a decade. This year, they wiped out the competition.
The credit largely goes to Senior Chief Petty Officer Roger L. Dutcher, who heads the detachment, his staff said.
“He pretty much gives everyone the freedom to do what they want,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Beau Smith, radio department head, who won a TJ last year and an honorable mention (second place) this year. Competition also plays a huge role: “Everyone holds everyone else accountable,” he said.
The awards are beyond most journalists’ expectations, he added. They translate well into the civilian marketplace and winning the Navy competition means a letter of commendation and a few promotion points.
“I would equate it to the Oscars,” he said. “There’s no greater joy or elation. I mean, you’re ecstatic when you find out.”
The winners learned of their achievement last week. For Noe, who’s been in the Navy less than two years, it was a complete shock.
“I flipped out,” he said. “I was so excited I leapt out of my chair.”
And the winner is …
Here are the Thomas Jefferson Award winners from Sasebo Naval Base, Japan. The award means these journalists were voted the best in the entire military in their categories.
Television Information Program: “Kyushu Explorer.” JO3 Matthew Weil, JO2 Beau Smith, JOSN Darrin RussBest Radio Spot: “Swearing,” JOSN Alec NoeTelevision Sports Report: JOSN Mark AlvarezHonorable Mention Best Television Spot Production: “Casablanca.” JO2 Beau SmithOther winners in Pacific Command: