A Naval Air Station Whiting Field Crash Division team member was selected by Commander Navy Region Southeast to represent the 15-base region in the Navy’s Military Firefighter of the Year competition.
The nomination recognized Aviation Boatswain Mate Handling Second Class Shawn Johnson’s superior technical ability as well as his devotion to enhance the capabilities of the other military members with whom he works as well as the local community. Johnson received the news on Feb. 6 via a phone conversation from Capt. Matthew Coughlin, the base Commanding Officer, and was a little stunned by the call.
“I was in the middle of my emergency medical technician class when my phone started to vibrate. I looked down and noticed that it was from a base number and then excused myself to call the number back. I was surprised and shocked to hear [the Skipper] answer my phone call, and tell me that I was chosen to represent the fire fighters of Navy’s southeast region,” said Johnson.
Johnsons’ nomination was the capstone of an amazing year of benevolence, community support, service tohis fellow shipmates, and personal growth.
He began the year as a crash crewman at Navy Outlying Landing Field Harold, but was hand selected to serve as the Crash Division Training Petty Officer, a position normally held by a seasoned First Class Petty Officer.
His packaged cited that he tracked and ensured 100 percent readiness for all required training for the Crash team of certified Department of Defense Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighters. Additionally, he executed over 250 live fire training exercises, certified as an airport fire fighter, trained to be a fire fighter 1 and 2 while being a qualified fire fighter 1 instructor, certified CPR and first responder,
“Petty Officer Johnson is the driving force behind the qualifications and certifications of the team. He ensures the personal safety of 112 firefighters assigned through education and completing required firefighter certifications. He approaches all tasks with zeal and completes them with unsurpassed results,” said Lt. j.g. Kenyatto Mayes, Whiting Field’s Crash and Salvage Division Officer.
While it wouldn’t seem as if he had time for anything else, he also volunteered over 1200 off-duty hours as a fire fighter at Skyline Volunteer Fire Department, and obtained his Associates degree in fire Sciences at Columbia Southern University.
“The award makes it all worth it, and it is inspiring to be recognized by my superiors and my peers,” Johnson stated.
Each year the Navy recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and honors fire departments and firefighters through the annual Department of Defense Fire and Emergency Services Awards Program. Navy Fire and Emergency Services is one of more than 100 services Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) oversees at military installations across the country.
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