Navy broadcaster Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Smith of the American Forces Network detachment in Sigonella, Sicily, was recently named the European AFNer of the Year.
Staff Sgt. Kimberly Lewis of AFN Würzburg, Germany, was the runner-up.
“It was so close,” said competition board chairman Senior Chief Petty Officer David Lundquist, who also serves as the AFN South senior enlisted adviser.
“These two AFNers were the best in all of Europe.”
Smith, a 10-year Navy veteran, was recognized for not only his broadcasting skills, but also his overall leadership and management abilities, according to Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey Wills, AFN Sigonella’s station manager.
“Being a journalist is only about 25 percent of what I do here,” said Smith, 31, of Orlando, Fla.
He said he has also served as the detachment’s television news leading petty officer for much of his two years at the detachment and also served as the radio leading petty officer for about six months. He’s also the detachment’s training coordinator and administrator for the local area network, or LAN.
This is Smith’s first broadcasting assignment. He became a Navy journalist about 2½ years ago after spending his first seven years in the service as a weather forecaster and submarine hunter.
“I’ve finally found what I want to do,” he said of being a broadcaster.
Smith and his wife, Heather, will be leaving Sigonella in the next few months, having been accepted to the Department of Defense’s military advanced video program at Syracuse University in New York, where he’ll spend a year honing his broadcasting skills.
Wells said he’ll be sorry to see Smith go.
“It’s definitely AFN’s loss,” he said. “But, on the flip side, he’ll probably go to the Naval Media Center [which produces the weekly worldwide Navy/Marine Corps News program] … so we’ll probably be seeing more of Petty Officer Smith.”