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NAS Patuxent River Announces its Sailors of the Year for 2023

20 February 2024

From Patrick Gordon, NAS Patuxent River Public Affairs Officer

NAS Patuxent River announces its Sailors of the Year, marking the command’s top Sailors for 2023.
NAS Patuxent River announces its Sailors of the Year, marking the command’s top Sailors for 2023.

“I am regularly impressed by the commitment our Pax Sailors show to their command, their Navy, and each other,” said NAS Patuxent River Commanding Officer Capt. Douglas Burfield. “The Sailors chosen as this year’s Sailors of the Year exemplify it every day. I hope they are as proud of their achievement as we are of them.”

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 Sailor of the Year – Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Quinton Dotson
As Command Climate Specialist, Dotson is sought out by NAS Pax River’s Commanding Officer and Senior Enlisted Leaders for advice and guidance on all aspects of Equal Opportunity. He provides analysis and recommendations regarding all informal, formal, and anonymous harassment and prohibited discrimination complaints to the Commanding Officer while adhering to, and informing of, all changes in the OPNAVINST 5354.1H.
He conducted on sight assessments, divisional inspections, and served as the central point of contact for all command climate issues. In addition, he provided CMEO program oversight, assisted and provided advice regarding conflict resolution and grievance redress procedures, provided Command Resiliency Team (CRT) training, and revamped the process in which climate assessments, complaints, POA&Ms, and executive summaries are maintained for NAS PAX River.
He was cited for numerous performance and leadership accomplishments over the past year, including:
  • reestablishing the CCS relevancy after a 2-year vacancy by processing seven EO complaints, conducted 16 assist visits, 13 CMEO program inspections, and 10 investigation reviews yielding an overall ‘effective’ CCS program on the ISIC assessment.
  • Leading 27 CRT members in the survey of 382 personnel, coordinated 21 focus groups, conducted 13 prevention strategy training sessions, and ensured 100% EO GMT completion resulting in FY23 IG inspection gold standard recognition and a 5-52% improvement of 18 protective/risk climate factors.
  • Was hand selected as acting Regional Command Climate Specialist, a CPO billet, and successfully led 11 CMEO program managers while advising six Commanding Officers, positively impacting 19 fence lines and 3,763 personnel in the National Capital Region reinforcing a culture of excellence, dignity, and respect.
  • Coordinated with Naval Health Clinic, Patuxent River, and flawlessly planned the Influenza Shotex. Led eight Sailors in the administration of 1K immunizations at the base gym resulting in zero mishaps and a 28% increase in force readiness base wide, and led 18 First and Second Class Petty Officers in the delivery of 88 HM EAP trainings to 19 test eligible candidates resulting in six advancements.
  • As Navy Ball Committee President led 18 personnel in the event planning and fundraising of $7K for 248th Navy Birthday. Additionally, he is instrumental in raising over $10K through 6 fundraising efforts, 144 coin sales, and 110 ticket sales for 247th Navy Birthday. Authored the POW/MIA, Bell Ringing, and Cake Cutting ceremony script which led to the organization and success of the 247th and 248th Navy Ball for 300 guest from 32 commands.
“HM1 Dotson is an inspirational deckplate leader who seizes every opportunity to lead, mentor, and challenge every Sailor,” said Chief Yeoman Priscilla Nelson, Dotson’s department head. “His ability to plan, coordinate, direct, and finish any job while balancing multiple tasks has consistently influenced positive outcomes and is a true testament to his commitment and dedication. He is not only a leader within the climate of the command, but has the kind of talent, drive and potential to eventually lead our Navy’s enlisted force. This program is designed to recognize our very best and therefore, tailor- made for a Sailor of his caliber.”
NAS Pax River Junior Sailor of the Year – Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Courage Falayi
Falayi, NAS Patuxent River pay and personnel clerk, maintains the financial and service records of command service members, making her responsible to process travel claims, pay entitlements, deductions, payments, collections, and allotment requests for active and reserve components. In addition, she also interprets publications and disseminates information to customers, reviews pay transactions, interprets Leave and Earnings Statements (LES), Master Military Pay Accounts (MMPA), and DOD pay and travel publications. She maintains the Enlisted Distribution Verification Reports, initiating screening for special duty assignments. She is also the command leave administrator, managing the program and having general responsiblilty for all leave transactions processed via e-Leave to include correction and cancellation.
She led teams to foster understanding of changing policies, ensuring the outstanding maintenance and readiness of Command Pay and Personnel Administration Program, and meeting command-wide mission requirements. Falayi provided pay, personnel, and administrative support for more than 250 Sailors and 620 DoD/NAF/AF civilians. During the 2023 Inspector General Inspection and area visits, Family Care Plan Program received “OUTSTANDING” rating thanks to her efforts. She efficiently handled all pay and personnel transactions through various systems including Salesforce, Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS), and BUPERS online. She meticulously processed 65 NSIPS pay and personnel transactions, 52 NP2 pay transactions, 18 BAH, five HDP-T, four IA travel claims, 10 travel advances resulting in over $75,000 in payments to Sailors, 48 gains, 32 transfers, and 28 separations and retirement ensuring 100% accuracy on all packages. Additionally, she resolved eight pay discrepancies resulting to $15,000 back pay to service members and as Defense Travel System reviewer, she processed 35 travel vouchers resulting in $30,000 liquidations. Moreover, she coordinated with NAVPTO the transportation of 20 military personnel and their dependents during their transition to their new PDS resulting to a smooth transition. 
She was cited for numerous performance and leadership accomplishments over the past year, including:
  • Planned twelve cabinet meetings and organized series of fundraising events to include 2 Gas and Glass events, Cinco de Mayo food sale, St. Patrick’s Day food sale, Breakfast Burrito sale, and volunteered to 3 concert events raising $3.5k in total for the 2023 Summer Command Picnic attended by over 150 Sailors and family members as the command recreation committee secretary.
  • Spearheaded fundraising events for the Navy Birthday celebration at Pax River, including the Cinco de Mayo food sale event, multiple Gas and Glass events, 3 Taco Sale events, and two car wash events raising $7,000 in sales and donations for the 247th Navy Birthday Ball and $10,000 for the 248th Navy Birthday Ball.
  • As Command Indoctrination facilitator, Falayi’s proactive approach geared 30 first-term Sailors and 45 new check-ins with best information available in relation to pay and entitlements.
  • As the Lead Command Pay and Personnel Administrator (CPPA), she led and managed a staff of two Sailors and one civilian and delivered optimal support and consistent customer service to the completion of 118 PERS/PAY transactions during this fiscal year.  Her one-on-one coaching approach ensures that all CPPAs are equipped with the knowledge they need which decreased pay and personnel transactions turnaround time by 50%. 
“Falayi exemplified the qualities most desired in a Junior Sailor of the Year,” said Nelson. “She is an outstanding junior leader and peer mentor who exhibits the maturity, judgement and drive of a seasoned First Class Petty Officer. She has proven to be fully capable of assuming various assignments and executing them in an outstanding manner. She exhibits the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.  Her contributions to the command’s mission cannot be overstated.  She has executed the requisite skills to meet command goals and continues to educate herself to become more knowledgeable and more resourceful.”
NAS Pax River Bluejacket of the Year – Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Chelcey Justiniano
Justiniano serves as the Search and Rescue (SAR) Duty Officer, a position normally held by a Junior Officer. During the reporting period, she advised 10 officers and 11 Aircrewmen in the execution of 190 planned flights, 512 sorties, totaling 702 mishap free flight hours.  Her expertise and leadership ensured 100% search and rescue coverage for the Naval District Washington area operations supporting 450 critical research, development, test, and evaluation flights across 64 tenant commands. As the SAR Duty Officer for three ITT/ATFP drills she diligently coordinated and disseminated time critical information to Search and Rescue crews, resulting in a prompt response time and enhanced training. 
She trained 16 Rescue Swimmers, SAR Medical Technicians, and Hospital Corpsmen in basic life saving techniques and triage, increasing the overall mission effectiveness of the SAR division in the event of an actual SAR mission. Her performance directly contributed to the achievement of 100% SAR availability in support of RDT&E operations. Justiniano further maintained individual medical readiness across two navy units of 227 personnel and assisted Naval Medical Training Center Patuxent River by providing 305 patient vitals and physical assessments, increasing medical readiness by 10 percent.
She was cited for numerous performance and leadership accomplishments over the past year, including:
  • As command Individual Medical Readiness Coordinator, she tracked medical readiness, processing and scheduling of two flight physicals, 61 PHAs, and various medical compliance reports of 220 personnel across two UICs. Her efforts resulted in NAS Patuxent River now leading NDW at 96% medical readiness. During this year’s Inspector General inspection Petty Officer Justiniano’s Individual Medical Readiness program received ZERO hits/discrepancy and was the only junior Sailor to maintain a command program.
  • Volunteered for the NAS Patuxent River Auxiliary Support Force, enabling the base to operate at an increased security posture.
  • Her leadership directly resulted in two Squadron Duty Officer Qualifications.
  • Maintained critical communications between NAS Pax River SAR and community partners, coordinating missions with Coast Guard Sector Five, Maryland State Troopers, and local First Responders in three joint Search and Rescue missions.
“Since checking in at NAS Patuxent River, Petty Officer Justiniano has proven to be a talented and eager Sailor,” said CMDCM Ryan Colosimo, NAS Patuxent River Command Master Chief. “She has consistently shown a level of aptitude and ability as a Hospital Corpsman and Sailor not normally seen within her paygrade. Her capability to take on the responsibilities of a seasoned second class has greatly enhanced the mission readiness, the SAR Department and the readiness of the entire command. It is without question that HM3’s positive impact reaches across all of Naval Air Station Patuxent River commands. Naval Air Station Patuxent River is a better command due to her attitude, leadership, and drive.”

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