Naples' Medina is Shore Sailor of the Year
Stars and Stripes June 8, 2003
NAPLES, Italy — When Petty Officer 1st Class Marc Medina’s name was called out as the 2002 Chief of Naval Operations Shore Sailor of the Year, he paused awhile before stepping forward.
“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it,” the Naples machinist’s mate said. “I was like ‘Are you sure they said the right name?’ Some people came up to me and said, ‘You took a long time to take it in.’ I wanted to be sure what I heard.”
Medina competed last month against four of the Navy’s best petty officers at the competition in Washington, D.C.
“All those guys are pros. … You had nukes [nuclear technicians], a guy from the [Navy precision flying team] Blue Angels. It felt good to be there with them,” said Medina, 35, the leading petty officer for the Naples Public Works Seabee Division.
The Bronx, N.Y., native advanced to the finals after beating out sailors from various European commands.
At the final level, a board asked the sailors eight three-part questions to test their knowledge of the Navy and their thoughts about such efforts as recruitment and retention.
The sailors waited two days before learning how they fared. They stood in front of about 150 people, including Chief of Naval Operations Vern Clark, in the Pentagon auditorium.
“We were pretty nervous,” Medina said. “One guy was ready to puke.”
The honor means Medina automatically is promoted to chief petty officer; he’ll pin on his anchors July 16 in Washington.
Medina hopes his next assignment will be as a recruiter in Miami. He’s slated to leave Naples in January.
He’s proud of the recognition Naples gets for his accomplishment, a relatively new award that fewer than 15 sailors can lay claim to.
“My guys have always been behind me,” he said. “They said it’s the first time they’ve ever met a CNO sailor of the year. I’m like, ‘Yeah, me too.’”