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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Selects Top Sailor

by Senior Chief Petty Officer Kimberly Martinez
05 June 2023 Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) announced its Sailor of the Year (SOY) during a ceremony at its headquarters onboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, June 2.
Construction Electrician 1st Class Janice N. Coppock, from Omaha, Nebraska, earned top honors as the force’s Sea Sailor of the Year. She is currently stationed with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 out of Port Hueneme, California. Coppock was one of five finalists vying for the title, which carried a meritorious promotion to Chief Petty Officer.
“Our finalists are the best expeditionary warriors we have to offer the Navy and our nation. Iron sharpens iron, and selecting our winner was not an easy decision,” said NECC Force Master Chief Rick Straney. “These outstanding Sailors were selected by their respective chains of command and participated in administrative and face-to-face interview boards. Petty Officer Coppock represented everything we ask for of our Sailors. She demonstrated honor, courage and commitment, and the unique type of leadership we need in our force.”
The five finalists emerged from a larger group of Sailors, which was narrowed down to the group who competed for the title. Each Sailor was escorted to the competition by a representative from their command who served as their sponsor throughout the event.
The NECC SOY coordinators, Senior Chief Master at Arms Andy Williams and Senior Chief Equipment Operator Amanda Ibalio had the task of coordinating the entire program and planning the SOY week schedule of events. They also worked closely with various units to ensure the candidates had a memorable experience.
“As previous Sailor of the Year winners, we understand what it takes to get here. Being able to see their packages with the understanding of howt we did our packages, it was very evident how competitive and ready these Sailors were and how they took care of their Sailors and commands,” said Williams. “It was wonderful to see everything come together and to show them a great week of what collaboration between the Chiefs mess means—especially withpicking a Sailor that is now a Chief, and they know it. You look at all five of them and you know that it’s a matter of ‘when’, and not ‘if’ they will make Chief.”
Coppock attended SOY Week with her command master chief who made the trek with her from Okinawa, Japan. He explained that she is a mentor to many in their command, including junior officers and her peers.
“She’s one of those first class petty officers out there making it happen, already filling the role of a chief,” said Command Master Chief Michael Saenz, NMCB 5. “We selected her to be an assistant officer-in-charge of a remote detachment site and whenever she is given Sailors, we trust her to do the right thing. She continually surpasses all expectations and is there for her Sailors and for the mission. We couldn’t ask anything more of her!”
Coppock, who has been in the Navy for 14 years, attributes her selection to the support and dedication of her leadership and the hard work of her Sailors.
“It’s an absolute honor. I didn’t get here by myself. I’m really representing the Chiefs mess and most of all my Sailors,” said Coppock. “When I was coming up for this, I had a Chief say that you will not get there by yourself, so I’m carrying my Chiefs mess and Sailors on my back. I am representing them, and this is truly for them.”
Coppock said that her father, a retired Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate, inspired her to join the Navy. She explained that she grew up watching him wear the uniform, which made her want to do the same. She also discussed one of the first issues she wants to address when she enters the Chiefs Mess, which happens to be one of the Navy’s biggest concerns.
“I want to speak up for those Sailors who are struggling with the decision to stay in the Navy. We have a challenge with keeping Sailors in the Navy, and I want to help influence the mess to make sure that retention is an important aspect we are focusing on and taking action upon.”
NECC resources, mans, trains, equips and maintains readiness for the Navy’s 20,000 active duty and Reserve expeditionary forces. With their unique capabilities, Navy expeditionary combat forces enable access from the sea, throughout the littorals and into inland operating environments in competition and conflict.