NAS Patuxent River announced its Sailors of the Year Dec. 15, 2022 marking the command’s top Sailors for 2022.
“These Sailors have proven themselves worthy of this recognition through their hard work, leadership, and professionalism, and I could not be more proud of them,” said Capt. Derrick Kingsley, NAS Patuxent River Commanding Officer. “They represent the best that our command has to offer.”
The Sailor of the Year Program was established by the chief of naval operations to recognize the superior performance of enlisted personnel, pay grades E-1 to E-6, and emphasize outstanding achievement and professionalism, exemplary personal conduct, command impact, mission contribution, dedication to self-improvement and superb initiative.
The following Naval Air Station Patuxent River command sailors were honored for their accomplishments:
NAS Pax River Senior Sailor of the Year – Master-at-Arms 1st Class Trevor Houseknecht
NAS Pax River Junior Sailor of the Year – Religious Program Specialist 2nd Class Joseph Mojica
- MA1 Houseknecht oversaw the completion of the NAS Patuxent River Military Working Dog (MWD) Kennel in March 2022. Tasked with the oversight of the $1.2 million project, he oversaw $700,000 in renovations, ensuring the project was up to code and in compliance with all Army and Navy instructional guidelines. He went through a 126-point statement of work where he corrected 17 delinquencies from previous designs. He further wrote and implemented the Explosive Training Plan, Drug Training Plan, Standard Operating Procedure, and Qualification Certification program. His attention to detail and drive directly resulted in the Pax River MWD kennel officially opening March 10, 2022 housing four MWDs capable of explosives and drug detection. His efforts single-handedly raised the operational and force protection readiness for not only the Naval District Washington (NDW) region, but the Navy as a whole; five installations around NDW now have additional explosive/drug detection capable assets at their disposal and the Navy has additional MWD assets to deploy worldwide.
- He led the Pax Security Department and Antiterrorism Training Team/Installation Training Teams through eight drill sets; administered more than 200 Level of Knowledge exams; conducted more than 80 evolutions; and provided in-depth training to all watch standers. His dedication resulted in the command passing the CNIC Command Assessment of Readiness and Training (CART) inspection and the MWD program earning a score of 100%, a virtually unheard of feat for a newly established kennel, and he created three random antiterrorism measure (RAM) schedules for bases across the region, ensuring they met RAM requirements for drug/explosive detection at their installations.
- As the NAS Patuxent River Security Department/Operations leading petty officer, Houseknecht is responsible for all aspects of the department. He leads five first class petty officers, 183 Naval Security Force, Auxiliary Security Force, Navy Civilian Police, and Navy Reserve personnel encompassing eight divisions across three fence lines, ensuring 449 CNIC requirements are met at all times.
- His leadership directly resulted four junior Sailors of the Quarter, one Bluejacket of the Quarter, a division of the quarter, seven advancements, two meritorious advancements, 18 flag letters of commendation, five Navy Achievement Medals, and two Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals for his personnel.
- As Independent Duty Religious Program Specialist assigned to NAS Patuxent River, Mojica is charged with maintaining the command’s religious program for three fence lines and more than 50 tenant commands. These responsibilities include maintaining the Religious Program Center, Historic Chapel, and graveyard. He also forecasts future fiscal year budgets, tracks supply orders, and manages the Command Religious Offering Fund (ROF). Additionally, Mojica trains volunteers and leads multiple volunteer events. While the base chaplain billet is gapped, Mojica takes on additional responsibilities such as providing reports to the command triad, and attending meetings such as the human factors council, Command Resiliency Team and Mission Partner meetings.
- As the sole subject matter expert on Religious Ministry programs, Mojica runs the entire command’s Religious Ministry Program nearly singlehandedly. He coordinated 48 worship services for a total of 300 Sailors and DoD personnel, scheduled 151 counselings, organized 12 fellowships and 17 Bible studies for 46 Sailors. He also instructed and facilitated Chaplains Religious Enrichment Development Operation (CREDO) programs, two ASIST Suicide prevention classes for 31 Sailors, and conducted 9 Command Indoctrination classes for multiple commands. He expertly managed the Chapel’s ROF, ensuring the proper collection and disbursement of non-appropriated Funds with 100% accountability. Additionally, he trained one alternate custodian on the ROF program. As building manager of three locations, he actively inspected for discrepancies oversaw the completion of 60 trouble tickets for buildings 428 and 401. This included the proper acquisition, handling and inventory of over 200 pieces of divine worship equipment and supply inventory. Mojica also managed and executed the Patuxent River Chapel budget ($4,500), resulting in maximum chapel fund usage and future fiscal year projections to NDW.
- Mojica led funeral honors events and training sessions from September 2021 to October 2022, providing instruction and direction to both Enlisted Sailors and Officers on proper funeral honors. His coordination and participation in each event ensured the proper honors were rendered to fallen military members and their families on behalf of the President of the United States. As the President of the NAS Patuxent River Junior Enlisted Association (JEA), he mentored 28 Sailors, coordinated and facilitated meetings, and led volunteer events such as the command coat drive collection and delivery of 272 winter items. He also led a car wash fund raiser for the Navy ball, three highway clean ups, a barracks bash celebration, holiday candy grams to first responders and junior Sailors, and Trunk or Treat. As President he provided career guidance to junior members and promoted upcoming programs. He also coordinated with CREDO to facilitate and instruct two ASIST workshops on suicide prevention for 14 Sailors.
NAS Pax River Bluejacket of the Year – Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class Matthew Lansberry
- Mojica periodically visited commands with Command Chaplains, disseminating information about Command events. He also liaised with NDW CREDO to provide classes for commands and individual mentorship to new/junior Sailor. He maintained command readiness by hosting and instructing at nine commands indoctrinations. Mojica coordinated and facilitated 31 command trainings to include advancement exams, CPO meetings, NMCRS fund drive trainings, executive planning sessions, SAPR VA trainings, and safety stand downs.
- Qualified above his billet description, Lansberry is crucial to the air traffic control (ATC) staffing with qualifications in Flight Data (FD), Ground Control, Final Control, and Clearance Delivery (CD). While working CD, Lansberry issues ATC clearances and coordinates aircraft movement messages with adjacent Facilities. As GC, Lansberry issues taxi instructions, weather and other pertinent information to aircraft under his control. He is also responsible for the surveillance and control of all aircraft, vehicles, and personnel on the movement area. He excels in his role, fulfilling a major command watch station. As Messenger of the Watch, he is responsible to the Command Duty Officer (CDO) for the cleanliness of the quarterdeck, ensuring the processing of all transient personnel, the execution of morning and evening colors and any other duties required by the CDO.
- Lansberry contributed to the designation of 10 Flight Planning Supervisors and the qualification of 12 Flight Planning Dispatchers, eight FD controllers, five Ground Controllers, six Final Controllers, and a CD controller. This assisted with the completion of 45,464 mishap-free flight operations in support of the Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation mission of 52 tenant commands.
- As JEA vice president, he coordinated and led 22 JEA meetings that resulted in 16 events directly effecting the environment and morale. This included beautification projects and wood chopping for the Unaccompanied Housing barracks. He also led 19 Sailors in the planning of many future command projects such as paintball for active duty, car washes, and highway clean ups.
- Lansberry has made a noticeable impact in the professional and personal development of 19 Sailors within his department and across the command. His influence on his peers has led to 32 professional qualifications, 10 supervisor designation, and encouraged a 100% retention rate in his rating as well as others at NAS Patuxent River.
The Sailors’ exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance, and selfless devotion to duty reflected credit upon themselves and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. naval service.
“There was fierce competition among their shipmates for this honor, but our Sailors of the Year stood out for their many accomplishments,” said CMDCM Ryan Colosimo, NAS Patuxent River Command Master Chief. “They embody what it truly means to be a Sailor, and I look forward to seeing them continue to excel in the future.”