Logistics and Industrial Operations Petty Officer Wins Headquarters Sailor of the Year

December 19, 2018

A Logistics and Industrial Operation Sailor was named the 2018 Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Headquarters Senior Sailor of the Year Nov. 16.

Petty Officer First Class Daniel Eldridge, an aviation technician serving as NAVAIR Technical Directive Kit Manager, was recognized for coordinating seven Central Kitting Activity employees as they processed, issued, and tracked more than 4,800 Technical Directive (TD) Kits valued at approximately $122 million.  Eldridge also increased the compliance rate of technical directives to 87 percent and decreased TD processing time by 25 percent.

Eldridge will advance to represent NAVAIR HQ against nominees from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers in January for the command’s overall 2018 Sailor of the Year award.

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) Staff Commanding Officer Capt. Jason Goff, who presented the award for Headquarters, said a junior Sailor can have as much impact on fleet readiness as a program manager. “Your accomplishments caught my eye because they placed capabilities directly to the fleet,” Goff said.

“That’s speed to the fleet and is directly attributed to the work you did,” he added. “Senior leadership relies on first class petty officers like you to get the work done.”

The Southern Maryland Mustang Association also recognized Eldridge at the ceremony, presenting him with a letter of congratulations and a miniature replica of the United States Navy Memorial Lone Sailor sculpture in Washington, D.C.  Harry Errington, historian for the Southern Maryland Mustang Association who represented the organization at the event, said Eldridge can count himself among the few Sailors who have received the award. “That limited number indicates the competitiveness of the award and the quality of its recipients,” he said.

Improvements to the TD process, Eldridge said, were a result of training he provided to the fleet and streamlining the process. This improved the accuracy of requisitions for accessory changes which, in turn, cut down on the processing time for TD kits. “The kits are now processed at a faster rate so we can get them to the customer quicker,” he explained. “This also means that the customer is able to comply with the TD in a timelier fashion.”

Eldridge was also recognized for volunteering with Wreaths Across America and his outreach efforts to NAVAIR civilians. He provided training to 150 employees during indoctrination classes, preparing them for working alongside active duty military. “Most NAVAIR civilians have some sort of military affiliation,” he said. “The training was geared toward those who do not have experience working with service members. The training covers history, customs and traditions of the Navy as well as how to identify different military ranks and why civilians and service members work together in the command.”

Eldridge wants to serve as an example of excellence and strives to provide young Sailors and Marines with the tools they need for success. He believes the actions and words of leadership at every level are always under scrutiny. “To be an effective leader, it is important to set the standard that you expect,” he said. “Your actions and behaviors will drive how those you are leading feel, act and ultimately work.”

He also understands his responsibilities to mentor the next generation and wants them to learn from his experiences. “I want them to be the best they can be and would advise them to be open minded when talking with seasoned Sailors,” he said. “Junior Sailors and Marines should take advantage of every opportunity presented to them and be ready to take responsibility when it’s their turn.”

NAVAIR Headquarters Senior Sailor of the Year Petty Officer First Class Daniel Eldridge (holding plaque) is pictured with (from left to right): NAVAIR Staff Commanding Officer Capt. Jason Goff; Executive Director, Logistics and Industrial Operations Capt. Donald Simmons; and Aviation Readiness and Resource Analysis Department Military Director Capt. Gary Powe.