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A USS Kitty Hawk sailor recently earned a Navywide award in one of the most critical areas of safety aboard a ship.

Petty Officer 1st Class Shane Krueger, an aviation boatswains mate (handling), was named the Navy’s Military Firefighter of the Year.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news,” Krueger said in a Navy statement from the ship, currently at sea near Australia. “I didn’t do anything extra special to try and win it. I just came in every day to work and did my job to the best of my ability.”

Krueger, 30, is the leading petty officer of the 22-person crash-and-salvage team, responsible for fighting deck fires, dealing with medical emergencies and salvaging damaged aircraft.

The Navy Fire and Emergency Services Program office, under the Navy Installations Command, issues the award each year to honor individual superior job performance and outstanding contributions to the Navy fire service, according to a Navy news release.

“It’s great that the Navy is recognizing such outstanding work being done here by Krueger as part of Kitty Hawk and the Forward Deployed Naval Forces,” said Capt. Ed McNamee, the ship’s commanding officer, in a statement.

After serving in the Navy aboard the USS Independence, Krueger left the Navy and became a civilian firefighter in Pensacola, Fla., while remaining in the Navy Reserve.

He was reactivated for Operation Iraqi Freedom and assigned to the Kitty Hawk.

Before making E-6, Krueger was ranked first among the 26 second class petty officers (E-5s) in the air department and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for superior performance as the crash-and-salvage leading petty officer — a position designed for an E-6, according to a Navy release.

“He’s a real hard worker and a top-notch sailor,” stated his supervisor, Chief Petty Officer Daniel Martin, leading chief petty officer of the crash- and-salvage team. “He always watches out for his team.”

Krueger is scheduled to receive the award at a ceremony in August in Denver.


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