3/12/2014 9:52:00 AM Fessler is a U.S. Navy Sea Sailor of the Year
First Class Petty Officer Nicholas Fessler, second from the left, stands with fellow Sailor of the Year finalists. The group will compete for U.S. Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year in Hawaii later this month. If Fessler wins, he earns promotion to Chief Petty Officer.
Bradshaw Mountain High School graduate Nicholas Fessler joined the U.S. Navy fresh out of school and recently earned the Sea Sailor of the Year distinction.
First Class Petty Officer Fessler will compete in Hawaii near the end of this month at the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Sailor of the Year competition and if he wins, be promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
Fessler grew up in Dewey and graduated in 2004. He explained that the Sailor of the Year competition was first started in 1972 to recognize an individual who best represented each command and ultimately the entire Navy. All of the finalists were evaluated on military bearing, professional performance, and leadership skills, Fessler said.
"I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to lead a very diverse group of sailors. Collectively, we achieved success throughout a very strenuous year full of many big Navy level inspections. As leaders, we are measured by the success of our sailors," Fessler said.
"I was humbled and honored to represent the crew of the war ship USS Bonhomme Richard at this very prestigious level of competition."
Fessler said that at the time of his nomination, he didn't know the type of competition he would be facing except that each finalist was the very best from his or her perspective regions.
Not only will he compete for the SOY, but he recently learned of his selection under the Limited Duty Officer Program. Fessler will be receiving a commission as a Naval Officer in the summer of 2015.
"I knew once I decided to reenlist the first time that I would make this a career. From that point forward I set one of my goals on receiving a commission under the LDO Program," Fessler said.
Following a family tradition, Fessler enlisted in the Navy shortly after graduation.
"I was confused on what I wanted to do after high school and figured that I could take a couple years in the service to make up my mind," he said.
Now, Fessler is assigned to the USS Bonhomme Richard, the lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group, out of Sasebo, Japan. He is responsible for 46 Sailors across five Divisions as the Antiterrorism Training Supervisor.
With all of his accomplishments, Fessler still enjoys returning to the Prescott Valley area and visiting his old Dewey stomping grounds. Fessler is the son of retired Prescott Valley Chief of Police Bill Fessler, and the little brother to Bradshaw Mountain and Yavapai College sport star Chris Fessler. His wife, Danette, is a 2006 graduate of Bradshaw Mountain.
"It's amazing to see how big the town is growing. We greatly enjoy our couple weeks a year when we return for some R&R," Fessler said.
"If there is one thing I would tell folks back home, it would be directed to the current juniors and seniors in high school. They have a very big decision to make about what lies ahead. The world extends much farther than Prescott Valley. With nine years of service I have been to over 23 different countries and have come across some of the most interesting and influential people I think I will every meet in my life. I challenge them to answer the call," he said.
The SOY finalists will participate in board interviews, command events and community outreach activities, including meeting with Pearl Harbor survivors.