Fellow Shipmates, my name is AWFC(NAC/AW) James L. Henson and I am currently mobilized with Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 58 in Jacksonville Fl. My selection as Reserve Sailor of the Year was a shock and extremely humbling. Never, in my wildest dreams would I have imagined being bestowed with such an honor. This journey began not last year but it is the culmination of 15 years of support from great sailors and opportunities that our senior leadership affords us all.
My first 10 years of service was in the Active Duty REGNAV component as an Aviation Maintenance Administrationman. When I checked aboard my first command, I was greeted by my Chief which set the tone for my career (Brilliant on The Basics in action). His advice to me was to diversify myself and my career for great success. For example, never isolate yourself to one thing. Each of my first three active duty commands were different aviation platforms and two different carriers. Looking back, this advice allowed me the opportunity to see different facets of the navy and its sailors which I believe aided me in becoming a well rounded sailor.
Once I transitioned from REGNAV to the Reserves in 2005, I diversified myself once again as I cross rated to AWF and earned my aircrew wings. By my third year in the Reserves, I was selected as the 2009 Sailor of the Year and off to compete against my peers for selection as Command Fleet Logistics Support Wing Sailor of the Year. Unfortunately, I was not selected that year and when I returned to my command there was overwhelming support from my shipmates and that only made me want to work harder for them. There is one common theme you will hear from us all, and that is this prestigious honor and any other for that matter is not earned alone! There are countless sailors that have aided me in this journey and I would like to take this opportunity to say “Thank You”!
The best advice that I can give is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The Navy needs LEADERS and those of you who stand up and in front will be followed. We were told during the many boards that we stood, your package got you here however, how you lead, carry yourself and interact with those around you will put you over the top. Remember, words on a paper package will not define you completely, your actions do and those actions will set you apart. Above all, care about what you do and how you do it and you will be successful! We look forward to congratulating the next crop of great sailors next year.