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Parishville’s Gladding named Sailor of the Year

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PENSACOLA, Fla. - Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) recently recognized its top Sailor during an awards ceremony aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola at the National Naval Aviation Museum Feb. 28.

Aviation Electronics Technicians 1st Class (AW/NAC) Adam Gladding, from Parishville was selected NETC’s 2012 Sailor of the Year (SOY).

Gladding is a Recruit Division Commander (RDC) at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. and was the representative from the Naval Service Training Command, which is responsible for accession training. The 11-year veteran was chosen from nearly 7,000 Sailors throughout the NETC domain. He has been teaching civilians how to become Sailors as an RDC for almost three years. Off duty he enjoys dog training, flying remote control helicopters, and living a healthy lifestyle.

“The majority of this honor goes to the recruits I have trained. They inspire me to motivate them and to want to succeed that much more in life,” Gladding said. “My role model is my mother. How she raised three boys, while working and going to college at the same time, still amazes me to this day. If it wasn’t for her instilling the motivation, standards, dedication, and morals I have, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today.”

Gladding said there is a great need for Sailors serving in the fleet to become instructors or recruit division commanders.

“It’s important for top-notch Sailors and Marines to become instructors. They can share their knowledge, experience, and show junior Sailors and Marines what it takes to be a leader,” he said. “I’ve always prided myself on being an instructor, but what sets this job apart is the material. I wanted to have the opportunity to train the raw product to see the first initial impact.”

He suggests to those considering instructor duty or wanting to make a difference, to remember the importance of that role.

“You are the face of the Navy. You have to do everything in your power to teach, mentor, guide, discipline, and show these Sailors that were just introduced to the world’s most powerful Navy, that being part of a team is bigger than one’s self,” he said. “Effective two-way communication makes a good leader. Communication has to flow freely between mentor and protg in both directions.”

Gladding said he has learned a lot the past three years at RTC and plans bring back to the fleet the skills he picked up.

“There are so many different backgrounds at Recruit Training Command, including the various rates, where someone is from, and an individual’s experience. Having every community in the Navy in one place shows everyone is here for a common goal. I’ll bring this approach back to the fleet with me, which will help make my shipmates more successful individually, and as a team,” Gladding said.

According to NETC Commander Rear Adm. Don Quinn, exemplary character was instrumental during the competition for the training command’s SOY.

“This award recognizes Petty Officer Gladding’s exceptional leadership and hard work,” Quinn said. “His performance has been nothing short of brilliant. Fleet readiness begins with quality training. That is especially true of those who serve as Recruit Division Commanders at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes. They transform civilians into Sailors and enable all the training that follows as we collectively turn them into highly skilled, combat-ready warfighters and enable their career-long growth and development,” said Quinn.

“The U.S. Navy remains the most formidable maritime force in the world and it is our Sailors that make the difference. Our technology is wonderful, but without the determined, trained warrior willing to step into harm’s way, technology alone is nothing.”

During the ceremony, NETC Force Master Chief Jon Port reflected on the meaning of being a Sailor and what it takes to become a Sailor of this caliber.

“These Sailors are clearly the front runners at their command and throughout the NETC enterprise. They are active partners in their community and follow the path of continually growing as Sailor’s professionally and personally,” said Port. “As the preeminent naval force in the world, we have many amazing ships, aircraft, and weapons. Our first rate capability to support these platforms can’t be replicated. However, these hi-tech machines are of no use without the Sailors who man them or those who train our Sailors.”

According to Port, the six finalists were all highly skilled, well-informed and articulate.

“I’m energized after spending a week with the top six out of almost 4,000 1st class petty officers in the NETC domain. They’re each number one in their own right,” said Port. “They’re very good at what they do, and are devoted to the training enterprise, the Navy, and exemplify the core values of honor, courage and commitment.”

While in Pensacola the candidates met their counterparts from other training commands, toured NAS Pensacola, and visited several of NETC’s training sites, the National Naval Aviation Museum, and the USS Alabama floating museum in Mobile, Ala. These activities were in addition to meeting individually with NETC’s Sailor of the Year Board to discuss topics ranging from leadership to voluntary education.

Each Sailor received a Navy Commendation Medal and plaque for their hard work and dedication.

Steve Vanderwerff is a writer with Naval Education and Training Command, Public Affairs.

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