By Lt. j.g. Nicholas Senecal and Lt. j.g. Christopher Pence
AWO1(NAC/AW) John Herrman was chosen as U.S. Fleet Forces Command 2018 Sailor of the Year (SOY) in Norfolk, Virginia during a ceremony hosted by the Hampton Roads Navy League, March 8.
Herrman grew up in Elkheart, Kansas; a town of less than 2,000 residents bordering the Oklahoma state line. It was here that he learned lifelong lessons from his father and uncle that have and continue to guide him in all aspects of his life.
"I am fortunate enough to be my father's son," Herrman said. "He was always working two or three jobs, and I learned the value of hard work from him."
Herrman also stated that it is not only effort but also the hard work of a collection of people who have led him to this point.
Herrman's naval career began in 2003 when he arrived at Aircrew Rescue School in Pensacola, Florida. He has completed tours with Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HSL) 6, HSL-10, Advanced Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School and Patrol Squadron (VP) 30. Following a potentially career ending automobile accident, he was forced to transition platforms and rates, a daunting challenge considering the atmosphere of advancement and retention. He checked into VP-16 four and a half years ago as an electronic warfare operator (EWO) and immediately set himself apart with his positive attitude and infectious motivation.
His efforts did not go unnoticed by members of the Chiefs Mess who he credits for his accomplishments.
"Thank you for believing in a cross rate, forced conversion from another job and allowing me to learn and serve," said Herrman, who serves as the acting aircrew office leading petty officer and is an EWO instructor.
Herrman continues to positively impact the lives of others and dedicates his efforts preparing the "War Eagles" for future deployments.
In addition to mastering his professional field as an aircrewman, Herrman volunteers his time as a coach for Special Olympics track and field and Fresh Start Surgical gifts. He has also earned his Bachelor's Degree in Security Management and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Operational Management.
Being a husband, father of four, instructor, volunteer and student, Herrman has no time to waste. He lives by his mantra, "Make a one percent improvement every day." He doesn't search for the instant gratification or big jumps, but rather the constant reading, understanding, and gathering of information to constantly and consistently improve his life and the lives of those around him.
It is these principles that led him to become the VP-16 Sailor of the Year. Herrman was subsequently selected Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group Sailor of the Year, advancing to the Naval Air Forces Atlantic (CNAL) Sailor of the Year selection board.
Once again, Herrman's professionalism and dedication led to his selection as Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Sailor of the Year.
On March 9, Herrman completed his final evaluation and was named the U.S. Fleet Forces Command Sailor of the Year having competed against seven finalists during a weeklong process of board interviews and leadership courses.
"This quest to be a chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy started for me a long time ago, and I have been extremely fortunate throughout my life," said Herrman.
In May, Herrman will be meritoriously promoted to chief petty officer in Washington, DC by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson. 
The Sailor of the Year Program was established in 1972 by then CNO, Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whittet to recognize one Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailor who represents the best of the Navy by demonstrating both professional and personal dedication.