YOKOSUKA, Japan— Commanding Officer Capt. Kevin Bartoe announced the selection of Petty Officer First Class Maurice Johnson as Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East Fiscal Year 2016 Sailor of the Year Oct. 12.
Petty Officer Second Class Julia Sijka and Petty Officer Third Class Austin McDowell were selected as FY16 Junior and Blue Jacket Sailor of the Year, respectively.
“The hard work and dedication these leaders have displayed throughout the year is impressive and they truly represent the very best from a group of dedicated Sailors throughout the Far East,” said Bartoe.
Since reporting to Public Works Department (PWD) Yokosuka, Japan in January 2014, Johnson has been assigned as a power plant manager, responsible for the maintenance and operations of the cogeneration and frequency converter power plant at Commander, Fleet Activities (CFA) Yokosuka. The plant provides shore power for U.S. 7th Fleet forward deployed naval forces, including the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). He also provides support for Navy Mobile Utilities Support Equipment (MUSE), a select group of Seabees who can provide power plants, substations, backup power systems and technical expertise in remote and emergency situations.
“I feel humbled and grateful that such a great command would recognize me as there sailor of the year,” said Johnson. “It also gives me pride because being recognized is really the success of my leaders, peers and subordinates that I have the pleasure of serving beside every day. My success is really theirs.”
Johnson is also involved with the CFA Yokosuka First Class Petty Officer Association and volunteers at many Science, Engineering, Technology and Math (STEM) events at local Department of Defense Dependents Schools.
Sijka is assigned to PWD Sasebo, Japan as the Self-Help Division Lead Builder and Assistant Leading Petty Officer. Last year, she supervised five Seabees in the completion of 330 man-hours of planning and execution of base safety and beautification projects saving CFA Sasebo an estimated $111,000 in contract labor and material cost. Her exceptional performance and selfless contributions to the community were also factors in her selection.
“I am greatly appreciative of receiving the nomination and selection,” said Sijka. “I am elated to know that my chain of command recognizes my diligence and took the time to proclaim my efforts.”
McDowell is assigned to PWD Okinawa as the Facilities Sustainment Branch assistant shop supervisor onboard CFA Okinawa. Last year he led his team in the successful completion of 158 routine and 25 emergency work requests. He is also the PWD fuels custodian and is involved in numerous organizations including the CFA Okinawa Auxiliary Security Force, Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, the Junior Enlisted Association, and the Okinawa Navy Football Team.
“Just getting the opportunity to participate against some the most top notch sailors in this region makes me feel even more motivated and fortunate,” said McDowell. “I feel very humbled and honored to have become this year’s NAVFAC Far East Blue Jacket Sailor of the Year. It is an experience that I will always remember and be proud of.” McDowell also cited his grandmother and parents for instilling honor, initiative and integrity, and his chain of command for providing superb leadership.
The NAVFAC Far East Sailor of the Year will be considered for NAVFAC Pacific Sailor of the Year, to be selected in December.