Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Nestor Gonzalez reflected Monday on what it means to be named the Center for Security Forces 2018 Sailor of the Year.
The Sailor of the Year (SOY) program was established by the Chief of Naval Operations in 1972. The program recognizes one exceptional Sailor who stands out above all the superior Sailors who serve around the globe.
“It has been a humbling experience to be singled out to represent our domain’s hard work,” said Gonzalez. “It is also an honor to be able to represent my detachment, and it’s a representation of all the hard work my Sailors have contributed to the Navy allowing me to lead them to success.”
Gonzalez, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, entered the enlisted ranks of the U.S. Navy in July 2006. He graduated from Thomas Edison State University this year with an associate in Applied Science.
He currently serves as an instructor for the Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) course — one of the most challenging and rewarding tours of duty in the Navy.
SERE is a 12-day code of conduct course designed to teach students the skills necessary to survive and evade capture. But if captured, to resist exploitation and if possible, to escape capture and return home with honor.
Cmdr. Michael Murnane is the officer in charge of the Center for Security Forces Detachment based in Kittery, Maine.
“Petty Officer Gonzalez has been assigned to one of this unit’s most demanding billets for a reason,” wrote Murnane in his endorsement. “His perseverance, organization skills and drive ensure mission success. He is a role model and a mentor for peers, subordinates and seniors alike.”
Murnane also remarked that Gonzalez is known as the “go-to guy” when it comes to the most challenging tasks noting that he always meets deadlines and exceeds expectations.
Knowing that no Sailor can achieve success on his or her own, Gonzalez took time to express his gratitude to all who have given him support and guidance along the way.
“I would like to thank my wife who manages to support me every way possible while I progress through my career,” said Gonzalez. “I thank my Sailors and teammates whom without none of this would be possible and my mentors who continue to teach and help me develop as a Sailor.”
Gonzalez also thanked his chain of command for the level of trust placed in him and the duties put in his charge that allowed him to hone his leadership skills.
“My advice is to remember you will not achieve without the direct support of your Sailors,” said Gonzalez offering advice to fellow Sailors. “Keep the team’s success in the forefront of your decisions and everything else will fall into place.”
The Center for Security Forces provides specialized training to more than 23,000 students each year. It has 14 training locations across the United States and around the world that carry the motto “Where Training Breeds Confidence.”
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For more news from Center for Security Forces, visit www.navy.mil/.