Based on recommendations from a Navy working group of top senior enlisted leaders throughout the Fleet, the Navy announced Oct. 20 that it is updating its Sailor of Year (SOY) program, to better align with Sailor 2025 initiatives.

The most significant change is the number of SOYs meritoriously advanced from four to 18. Additionally, the update gives each type commander the authority to promote their top-performing eligible First Class Petty Officers ahead of the regular Chief Petty Officer selection board.

“We’re affording greater opportunity for advancement across the Sailor of the Year program, by extending authority to advance more Sailors of the Year at a level appropriate to the size of the competitive field,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith. “They have proven through their performance, with validation by multiple rigorous levels of the competition process, that they are now ready for the roles and responsibilities of a chief petty officer.”

Other updates include specifics for SOY competition timelines, board member composition requirements, and revising the nomination format to align with the CPO selection board precepts and convening order. Also, those selected as a Sailor of the Year will be meritoriously advanced on September 16 after completing CPO Initiation with other chief petty officer selects from the regular selection board.

“Without a doubt, the Chief’s Mess is an institution within the U.S. Navy, and it is absolutely fundamental to our success,” said Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday. “Updating our Sailor of the Year policy will give Fleet leadership increased opportunity to recognize and promote those Sailors who will lead our Navy far into the future.”

Established in 1972, the SOY Program recognized Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Sailors; however, in 1973, the program was expanded to recognize one outstanding shore-based Sailor. In 1982, the program was further expanded to include the Navy Reserve SOY.

To read the new SOY program instruction visit:,%20Community%20and%20Religious%20Services/1700.10P.pdf