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The sole air-traffic controller for 6th Fleet was chosen for the Commander, Naval Forces Europe Junior Enlisted Leadership Award this month.

From the USS La Salle, Petty Officer 1st Class Anna M. Thomason manages fleet air space, arranging diplomatic clearances for carrier and expeditionary strike groups and European Command air assets.

Her supervisor, Cmdr. David Crosby, commended her for being articulate and organized.

“Her words and her voice inflection are the tools of her trade, they make her an effective communicator,” he said in a telephone interview from the 6th Fleet flagship, which is en route back to Gaeta, Italy, from a deployment to Ireland.

Lt. Cmdr. Pat J. Moran, Thomason’s division officer in the operations department, said the air-traffic controller’s leadership abilities were proven when she ran the air shop on her own, an O-5 level job.

As the operations department leading petty officer, Thomason, 37, said she tries to improve the standard of living for the approximately 50 sailors under her. She pulled together a team of sailors to paint the work space.

“We would normally get contractors to do it, but they did it on their own,” said Thomason, an Enfield, Conn., native.

Thomason, who has 19 years in the Navy, plans on continuing her work as an air-traffic controller after retiring.

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