BRADENTON -- Petty Officer First Class Garett Pope from Bradenton, serving with Commander, U.S. Navy Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, earned Senior Shore Sailor of the Year for 2015.
The Sailor of the Year Program recognizes superior performance of enlisted personnel emphasizing outstanding achievements, exemplary personal conduct and military bearing, and demonstrated initiative in the performance of duty. This program also motivates personnel to strive for improvement in their assigned duties and leadership.
"Throughout my career I have always chosen the toughest jobs, sought increased responsibility, and have achieved great success through hard work and dedication," said Pope. "Although my experience as an operator, instructor, and mentor has made me a strong and versatile sailor, the greatest satisfaction comes from the achievements and success of
each and every one of my sailors. Ultimately, it is an honor and a privilege to be a representative of all their accomplishments, success, dedication, and hard work."
As an aircrewman operator, Pope operates tactical mission systems to detect, classify, track and attack enemy submarines while onboard P-3C and P-8A aircraft.
"As a fleet replacement squadron instructor, weapons and tactics instructor, and fleet air training and operating procedures standardization evaluator, I am responsible for ensuring the safe and standardized training of newly designated naval aircrewman and fleet acoustic operators in the P-3C Orion aircraft," said Pope. "When not in the aircraft, I am responsible for the command sponsor, indoctrination, and educational services for 1,245 sailors."
Higher education pursuit
Pope, a 2001 Manatee High School graduate, enlisted in the Navy after high school and completed his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University, majoring in workforce education and development. He is pursing a master's degree at the University of Arkansas, majoring in operations management.
"Serving in the Navy for more than 13 years has made me a more confident and dynamic leader," said Pope. "The many billets and multiple deployments have shown me how to prioritize in complex environments, still achieve excellence, while still being able to take care of our Sailors."
Pope's commanding officer, Capt. David G. Whitehead, said he's proud of the hard work and dedication Pope exemplifies.
"Petty officer Pope possesses all of the talents and skills we are looking for in our enlisted leaders," said Whitehead. "He is a recognized expert in his craft, mentally and physically fit, a dedicated problem-solver, and is passionate about his sailors' well-being. It is an honor to serve alongside sailors of this caliber."
Located in Jacksonville, the mission of Fleet Replacement Squadron Patrol 30, the "Pro's Nest," is to provide P-3 and P-8 training to pilots, naval flight officers and enlisted aircrew prior to reporting to the fleet. More than 650 staff personnel train more than 800 officer and enlisted personnel annually, using 17 P-3 and five P-8 specific training to pilots.
"Patrol Squadron Thirty Fleet Replacement Squadron conducts initial and refresher training for maritime patrol and reconnaissance force aviators operating the P-3C Orion, P-8A Poseidon, and MQ-4C Triton weapon systems," said Whitehead.
Pope's mother, Phyllis Jan Pope, resides in Sarasota while his father, Gary Joe Pope, lives in Bradenton.
Navy camaraderie and diversity
"I enjoy the overwhelming sense of camaraderie and diversity in the Navy," said Pope. "The Navy is one of the few professions where you can take people from all over the world, with different backgrounds, and accomplish any global objective without hesitation. Also, throughout the deployments, missions, and duty stations, lifelong bonds and trust is built between service members and their families. Those memories, friendships, and bonds are something that has created a great sense of pride in serving my country."