Everett native wins Naval Air Force’s highest honor
EVERETT - On Feb. 13, Everett native Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Robert Layton received the 2013 Shore Sailor of the Year award for the Pacific Fleet.
“This has definitely been a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Layton told the Tribune on receiving the award.
Layton, 27, who enlisted in the Navy in 2004, works as a mechanic on Navy airplanes and is stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
The Shore Sailor of the Year award marks Layton as one of the two best sailors in the entire Naval Air Forces’ Pacfic Fleet.
To win the award, Layton was selected from a group of 10 candidates that represent more than 40,000 sailors, according to a statement by the Navy.
Next, Layton will compete in Hawaii for a chance to be the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet’s Shore SOY title, basically competing to be named the best shore sailor in the entire Navy.
During his time in San Diego, Layton and the other nominated sailors were treated to a dinner at SeaWorld and amazing networking opportunities, he said.
“I don’t think I’m extraordinary or a superstar,” Layton said. “I try to build people up and work hard for the right reasons.”
The award considered more than physical performance and job performance; it also considered the candidate’s community involvement and leadership skills.
“These sailors are an incredible group who truly represent the best that we have in Naval Air Forces today,” said Vice Admiral David Buss, commander of the Naval Air Forces, in a statement.
He commented that all of the candidates are characterized by the same attributes of dedication, love for service, and leadership ability.
“Each of these sailors have unique backgrounds and took different paths to get here, but they each strive with a common purpose to make the Navy, and their slice of it, a better place,” said Buss. “With these sailors, the Navy is in remarkable hands.”
Part of what drives Layton is his faith, Layton said.
“I really try to do the right things for the right reasons,” Layton said. “I think your motivation really matters. My faith has taught me to love people and to serve them.”
It enters every aspect of his life, he said.
“He puts family ahead of everything else,” said Nguyen Layton, his wife of nearly seven years. “He works really early and works long days, but he is always willing to help. He never makes it seem like I have it easier or anything. He’s willing to pick up and help in any way he can.”
The two have two young daughters, Audrey, 3, and Emily, 10 months.
“It’s something that we work toward, try to be as content and present in whatever situation we’ve been in,” Nguyen Layton said. “When he’s here, he’s definitely present.”
While Layton works long hours, he always makes time for his family, his wife said. That includes the day-to-day of putting the girls to bed and running errands with their oldest.
“Our oldest is a daddy’s girl and they are both really outdoorsy,” Nguyen said. “They go hunting and fishing.”
While Layton was born in Everett, members of his family continue to live in Marysville and Lynnwood.
“I’ve moved around a lot, but Washington is home at the end of the day,” he said.
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