SAN DIEGO — Of the thousands of enlisted U.S. Navy men and women, only a select few are nominated by their master commander as Sailor of the Year.

“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized by those that you work for to know that they appreciate what you do,” said Valissa Tisdale, Regent Command Master Chief. As the senior-most enlisted person on a Navy ship, Tisdale will announce who among an elite group from command posts across the southern region will be Sailor of the Year and then go on to compete against sailors from all over the world in Washington, D.C.

“If they win the Naval installations Sailor of the Year, then they will be promoted to chief petty officer,” Tisdale said.

“To represent this area specifically, this is a very, very well-known region,” said Shaun Thomas, a Master-at-Arms First Class representing Naval Base Coronado, who has served in the Navy for 9 years. “This fleet in the Navy means a lot so to be one of the 11 faces representing that is a good feeling.”

Thomas, along with the 10 other regional winners, have been going through intense interviews, testing their knowledge of the Navy and leadership skills. FOX 5 caught up with them Wednesday as they were taking in a tour of the iconic USS Midway Museum before they learn who will go to Washington to compete on a world stage.  

“The Navy Southwest Region usually puts out really good sailors, so just the fact that I’m nominated and can represent my command and my sailors’ work and their successes – it means a lot,” Thomas said. “I’m definitely honored to do so.”

“I’m definitely looking at that next level and I wonder what that sailor looks like,” Thomas said. “I can tend to be a competitive person so I want to know what the next level looks like and it would be fun to experience that.”  

The regional winner will be announced Thursday.