Petty Officer Mackin is a superstar Navy reservist. He recently returned from a 14-month assignment at a forward operating location in El Salvador. Arriving to a unit that was critically understaffed, Petty Officer Mackin single-handedly implemented crucial logistics, inventory and management processes that helped the unit successfully accomplish its counter-drug flight mission. He volunteered for numerous extra duties in a severely understaffed environment. He rose to the challenge of molding and leading a team consisting of host-nation civilians, U.S. sailors and coastguardsmen and U.S. Customs Service personnel. To promote unit cohesion within this diverse group, Petty Officer Mackin taught himself conversational Spanish to improve communications between the English and Spanish-speaking members of the team. In the aftermath of two major earthquakes, he boosted the morale of hundreds of Salvadoran relief workers by organizing sports and recreational activities and was involved in charitable drives to assist the victims of these quakes. At a significant personal sacrifice and at the request of his commanders, Petty Officer Mackin served three consecutive sets of active duty orders. Petty Officer Mackin's commanding officer describes the intangibles and skill sets he brings as "unique, invaluable and the most impressive of any sailor I have ever served with." "He is universally held with the highest professional and personal esteem, by all he has worked with," said another shipmate.
Petty Officer Rex Bixby is an exceptional leader, mentor and a strong advocate for the needs and interests of sailors. As detailer for submarine nuclear electronics technicians, Petty Officer Bixby truly cares about the careers of those in his charge. He is a true professional and top performer in a very demanding field, where it's often hard to please everyone. "He takes great concern for the needs of sailors, he really goes to bat for you," said a fellow submariner. Petty Officer Bixby uses his wealth of submarine experience to educate and mentor sailors on the best career options. "We trust him and rely upon his judgment, and he always comes through," said another shipmate. "He's the best, but never blows his own horn," said one supervising officer. Petty Officer Bixby is also a volunteer member of the command's Burial Honor Guard, where his impeccable military bearing and decorum lends special dignity to these solemn ceremonies. Off duty, Petty Officer Bixby is highly involved in his community, engaging in youth mentoring and sports activities. "He is a singularly impressive Sailor, who combines superior performance of duty with proactive efforts to contribute to the local community," said one of his superior officers. Petty Officer Bixby is clearly a fine example of the best in the United States Navy.
Petty Officer Albert Gonzales is an example of the unsung performer in a field often overlooked in its importance to mission accomplishment. Known as "Gonzo" to his crew and shipmates, he displays a tireless energy, dedication to the job and willingness to go the extra mile for his shipmates and his community. Assigned in Pre-Commissioning Unit Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), Gonzales is the principal administrative assistant for the Reactor Department. This Yeoman truly cares about his fellow sailors, and is the "go to guy" for resolving issues for enlisted personnel relating to quality of life. He is the first to arrive in the office and the last one to leave, helping to ensure top efficiency in the 350-member department. Gonzales often works off-duty hours to get sailors the help they need and the recognition they deserve. "He is always available for sailors, to motivate them and help them work through their problems," said one shipmate. "He does all the intangible things to make life better for his shipmates," said another. "He is a person we truly admire and respect, not only as a professional sailor but as an outstanding person," said one supervisor. Off duty, Petty Officer Gonzales is involved in the community, mentoring young athletes in Special Olympics, participating in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, serving with a local high school's NJROTC unit, among other community activities. Gonzales embodies the true team spirit, leadership and professional commitment that it takes to be an outstanding sailor.