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Hawaii Sailor recognized as CNRH, JBPHH Sailor of the Year

20 May 2024

From Petty Officer 1st Class Jose Jaen, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

Superior leadership, professionalism, and commitment to duty. Those are the qualities that set four Sailors competing for the prestigious 2023 Commander, Navy Installations Command’s Sailor of the Year award apart from their peers across 10 regions and 70 installations.
One of the finalists was Master-at-Arms 1st Class Franklin E. Mateo Jr., Security Operations leading petty officer at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). Mateo is credited with revolutionizing the security framework at JBPHH, orchestrating a formidable force across multiple disciplines to secure the installation with unmatched efficiency. And his role as a lead command Sexual Assault Prevention and Response victim advocate exemplifies his commitment to fostering a safe and respectful environment.

“You’re here today because you exceed the standard all the time,” said Naval District Washington Commandant Rear Adm. Nancy Lacore, who was the guest speaker at the May 2 award ceremony at the U.S. Navy Museum on the historical Washington Navy Yard. “You’ve demonstrated superior leadership, professionalism and commitment to duty that sets you apart from your peers and I am really proud of each of you.”

The finalists who were selected are “the top of the pinnacle of what we do every day at CNIC,” added the shore enterprise’s Force Master Chief Jason Dunn.

In April, Mateo was named Commander, Navy Region Hawaii (CNRH) Sailor of the Year for 2023. Last year, he was recognized as the 2023 JBPHH Sailor of the Year.

A native of Kissimmee, Florida, Mateo manages 408 Sailors, Airmen and Department of the Navy civilians at CNIC’s fourth largest security department, which is responsible for maintaining the security and safety of 93,000 personnel across JBPHH and its seven annexes.

His exceptional performance includes spearheading an innovative security analytics initiative that analyzes threat patterns and preempts security breaches. The program resulted in a 50% decrease in potential vulnerabilities, safeguarding the integrity of mission-critical assets and personnel.

While serving as the antiterrorism tactical watch officer, Mateo facilitated the development of centralized Command and Control for the afloat and landside force protection mission set, coordinating security forces and assets for the Navy’s third largest fleet concentration area.

As JBPHH’s lead sexual assault prevention and response victim advocate, Mateo conducted six command-wide sessions that increased awareness and responsiveness to SAPR protocols, nurturing an atmosphere of trust and accountability. His guidance during two pivotal CNIC-directed drills resulted in 100% command compliance, mirroring the exact standards he champions. In recognition of his efforts, Mateo was nominated for the 2023 CNIC SAPR Advocate of the Year.

In recognition of his leadership, he received 25 advancements, four Meritorious Advancement Program selections, one Junior Sailor of the Quarter award, two Bluejacket of the Quarter awards, and 10 reenlistments, significantly bolstering our mission readiness.

Although Mateo was not selected as CNIC Sailor of the Year, his participation and performance were nothing short of inspiring, said JBPHH Command Master Chief Quentin Newsom. “He stood as a paragon of professionalism and pride, upholding the highest values of our Navy and nation, and vividly embodying the spirit and dedication of our Sailors, defenders, and civilians.”

Mateo said he was “humbled and honored” to be selected as a finalist.

“There are so many people who have inspired me, and I am forever thankful to them,” he said. “A special shout out to Senior Chief Master-at-Arms Krystal Meza; she is a true inspiration and someone who I hold in very high regard.”

Traveling to Washington, D.C. to take part in CNIC Sailor of the Year week events “was the experience of a lifetime,” Mateo recalled. “From the amazing leaders I crossed paths with, to the lifelong memories created and the amount of excellence in which I was surrounded, it was truly one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”

The Sailor of the Year program was established in 1972 by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John Whitte to recognize the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet’s top performing Sailors. By 1983, the program had expanded to include shore duty and Navy Reserve Sailors.

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