MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Petty Officer 2nd Class Raymond J. Suiter, the leading petty officer for the Marine Memorial Chapel aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, earned the title of the Marine Corps Installations Pacific Junior Sailor of the Year for 2014.
MCIPAC Junior Sailor of the Year allows E-4 and E-5 sailors on Marine Corps installations throughout the Pacific a chance to compete against one another and an opportunity to be recognized for their accomplishments throughout the year.
Suiter said he did not set out to become the junior sailor of the year when he began going on boards.
“I won Sailor of the Quarter for (Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron) twice in 2014 and that made me eligible for MCIPAC’s Junior Sailor of the Year,” explained Suiter. “I just fell into it after that, I wanted to see how far I could go.”
According to Suiter, his chain-of-command and fellow service members are the ones who encouraged him to go above and beyond his daily duties and go on boards.
Navy Lt. Latoya Zavala, acting command chaplain for MCAS Iwakuni, said she believes Suiter won because “it is within his core to exhibit honor, courage and commitment.”
“Suiter is what we call ‘Joe Navy,’” said Zavala. “He loves the organization. If he’s complaining, it’s never about the Navy or his work. He loves what he does and believes in what the Navy does as a whole.”
Although it was a competition, before he went on a board, Suiter helped his fellow competitors by adjusting their uniforms and getting them to relax.
“It’s a friendly competition. You can go head-to-head but who is that going to help?” said Suiter. “I went on a static board before so I had an edge after that. If I already know what I’m doing and have people next to me that don’t, I’m going to try to help. It’s like they say, you don’t screw over your buddy next to you.”
Suiter said he believes it was his willingness to learn and understand what it takes to succeed that led him to win junior sailor of the year.
“I listened to people who have been on boards before me and learned from them. Whatever advice I could get, I used it,” said Suiter.
In the end, according to Zavala, Suiter exhibits a love and dedication to the Navy that puts him a step above the rest.