Local Navy communications specialist honored as Pacific’s Sailor of the Year

SAN DIEGO — Interior Communications Specialist 1st Class Nick Natelli has been named the Naval Surface Forces Pacific 2018 Sailor of the Year, U.S. Navy officials announced Monday.

Interior Communications Specialist 1st Class Nick Natelli has been named the Naval Surface Forces Pacific 2018 Sailor of the Year, U.S. Navy officials announced Monday. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Diana Quinlan)

Navy officials praised Natelli for his resilience to adversity throughout his 19-year Naval career. Most notably, Natelli lost his security clearance in his last semester at Old Dominion University’s Seaman-to-Admiral program and was dropped from the program while dealing with a divorce. Natelli is currently serving on the USS Bonhomme Richard, which is homeported in San Diego.

“I want to inspire our Sailors to aspire for excellence and serve as a model of what we can achieve Navy-wide with the right focus and the right message,” said Bonhomme Richard Commanding Officer Capt. Rich LeBron. “IC1 Natelli is the perfect example of what I mean. He has successfully bounced back from many setbacks and is a sailor who continuously makes the whole BHR family proud.”

After rejoining the Navy, Natelli served on the USS Guardian, which ran aground off the coast of the Phillipines in 2013. Natelli said that his experience abandoning the ship and helping his fellow sailors maintain their morale in the aftermath helped him reflect on the concepts of character and courage.

“I’ve learned to find the faith in others and enable them to do the things that need to be done for the team to succeed,” Natelli said. “I’ve also learned to exchange your ideas and collaborate as a team. It’s easy to think that you can do the job best by yourself but it takes a team to make big things happen.”

After receiving the award, Natelli will compete with other members of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet for its Surface Sailor of the Year award. The winner of the award will be automatically promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, according to the Navy.

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