News Release, NAVAIR News

PATUXENT RIVER, Md–Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Perry, the leading petty officer (LPO) for Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 20’s E-6B Mercury test team, was named the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) 2018 Sailor of the Year during a Feb. 7 ceremony at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

During fiscal 2018, Perry’s team—comprising four junior officers, eight Sailors and nine civilians—completed developmental testing and evaluation of seven major E-6B mission systems, totaling 297.4 mishap-free ground and flight test hours across 80 test sorties. Perry’s efforts helped earn his team recognition as “VX-20 Test Team of the Quarter, Second Quarter 2018.”

Perry also served as the VX-20’s primary Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) instructor, a role in which he “distinguished himself through his exceptional performance as the subject matter expert and most knowledgeable E-6B Flight Engineer Instructor within VX-20,” wrote the squadron’s then-commanding officer, Col. Steven Puckett, in an Oct. 19 memo nominating Perry for Sailor of the Year.

“There is no First Class Petty Officer who has contributed more to my command’s success; he has worked tirelessly, training a generation of aviators to meet an extremely high standard of excellence,” Puckett wrote. “I cannot imagine a mission, task or circumstance where he would not enjoy my full faith and confidence.”

One of three nominees, Perry had already been selected as the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) 2018 Sailor of the Year. Petty Officer 1stClass Daniel Eldridge and Petty Officer 1stClass Jason Pardee were the nominees from NAVAIR headquarters and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, respectively.

Vice Adm. Dean Peters, commander, Naval Air Systems Command, presents Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Perry with the command’s 2018 Sailor of the Year award Feb. 7 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.Vice Adm. Dean Peters, commander, Naval Air Systems Command, presents Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Perry with the command’s 2018 Sailor of the Year award Feb. 7 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)

“The whole VX-20 command—the chiefs mess, the 1stclass petty officers—all played a huge role in this achievement. Their mentorship and friendships were invaluable in training and developing me to get to this position,” Perry said. “It’s really a humbling experience to accept this award. The other candidates are amazing and highly qualified, and it’s just an honor and a privilege to be awarded NAVAIR’s Sailor of the Year.”

A technical directives central kitting manager for NAVAIR Logistics and Industrial Operations (AIR 6.0), Eldridge led seven active-duty personnel in the processing, issuance and tracking of 4,831 technical directive kits during fiscal 2018, resulting in an 87-percent compliance rate with a 25-percent reduction in processing time.

As a government maintenance representative with VX-31 from October 2017 through September 2018, Pardee oversaw 350 contractors responsible for maintaining 17 uniquely configured F/A-18A-F Hornets/Super Hornets, seven EA-18G Growlers, four AV-8B Harriers and three MH-60S Seahawks.

For their sustained meritorious service, Eldridge and Pardee were each awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.

“We had the nearly impossible task of selecting a Sailor of the Year from these fine candidates, and I know that’s something we always say, but genuinely, the competition was very stiff this year,” NAVAIR Command Master Chief Timothy McKinley said. “The three Sailors we are recognizing here today are the very best from within NAVAIR. I can assure you, again, the selection process is never easy, and this year as much as any, the competition was fierce.”

Perry will go on to compete for the Vice Chief of Naval Operations Shore Activities Sailor of the Year, “where we absolutely wish him all the best,” McKinley said.

“Of the nearly 300,000 enlisted Sailors in the Navy, not counting our chief petty officers, we are blessed to have about 550 highly experienced, fairly senior, professional Sailors throughout the NAVAIR enterprise. They serve in a variety of jobs in our test squadrons, in our logistics teams, in our program offices, on our staff, and these three Sailors are the very best of this seasoned and competitive group,” NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Dean Peters said. “To say that the competition is keen is a huge understatement. Not only are these Sailors top performers, but they are also incredible ambassadors. In an organization of 43,000 mostly civilian personnel, these Sailors convey the best of the Navy—honor, courage, commitment, community service, teamwork, leadership, professionalism.”

“You have distinguished yourselves, not only here today, but before all your shipmates in your command and across the Navy,” McKinley said to each of the nominees. “We know that you will continue to serve the Navy and your country with honor, courage and commitment, and we all look forward to your continued success.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...