DVIDS – News – Navy’s Junior Ship Handler of the Year welcomes new challenge


GREAT LAKES (NNS) — Ben Pedersen’s first visit to Recruit Training Command (RTC) was in 2009 with the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

He recently returned to the Navy’s only boot camp as Lt. Ben Pedersen, the U.S. Navy’s Young Shipmaster of the Year (JOSH).

Pedersen is assigned as a ship’s officer at RTC, following his tour as a navigator aboard USS Patriot (MCM 7), deployed to Sasebo, Japan.

“Receiving the award is really all the people who have supported me throughout my career in the Navy, especially the wardroom and crew of the Patriot,” Pedersen said. “They really are the toughest working group I’ve ever worked with. They showed me what it means to work hard and make an effort, and are also a source of inspiration. All the credit goes to them, because driving ships just isn’t a man; it’s the whole crew that makes this possible.

Pedersen, of Johnsburg, Illinois, graduated with honors from the Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps program at the University of Missouri with a degree in nutrition and exercise physiology. It was commissioned in 2016 and began its journey through the Surface Warfare Officer pipeline.
“The Young Shiphandler of the Year is an important accolade in the surface warfare officer community and a source of pride for the officers who are awarded this recognition,” said RTC Executive Director, Commander Stephanie Hayes. . “It’s impressive that one of our ship’s officers, Lt. Pedersen, is the Navy-wide winner. It’s amazing that RTC benefits from his presence and that he is an example to imitate for our recruits and future sailors. I am pleased that he can share his experience and the command is fortunate to have another highly successful junior officer joining the ranks as a ship’s officer, leading our sailors and responsible for the welfare and training of our recruits.

Pedersen Navy’s JOSH achievement was the culmination of seven months of competition, winning at the squadron and Pacific Fleet level before last year’s two-day final in Newport, Rhode Island. His final test came against Atlantic Fleet JOSH Lt. Matthew Bain, with whom he attended navigation school.

“They rated us on handling the bridge, how well we control the ship coming out of the dock and how smoothly we land with all the basic factors like wind and currents,” Pedersen said.

Pedersen first learned he made the final in Newport during a difficult time for his family. His father had suffered a stroke, and Pedersen returned on emergency leave to his parents’ home in Illinois to aid in his father’s recovery.

“I received a call from the general manager and commanding officer of the Patriot telling me that I was not going directly back to Japan,” Pedersen said. “They said I had won at fleet level and was going to Newport to compete. I remember seeing my dad’s eyes light up. I was surprised at how well my dad was proud, and with my mom too, it was so meaningful. Just to come back and share that with my family, it meant so much more.

Now that Pedersen is assigned to the RTC, about a 45-minute drive from his parents’ house, he can continue to help his father recover.
“It’s surreal to come full circle and be here as a ship’s officer,” Pedersen said. “I was in Sea Cadets in high school and trained here. Working with sailors really inspired me to join the Navy.

He is ready to put his experience to good use in his new challenge at the RTC.
“What I’ve learned as an officer at sea is the attention to detail and the breadth of what your job entails,” Pedersen said. “Turning civilians into sailors is an incredible experience. It is very rewarding to give them the best training and to put all our efforts into it.

Boot camp training includes physical fitness, seamanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control, as well as lessons in the Navy’s heritage and core values, the teamwork and discipline. Approximately 40,000 recruits graduate from the RTC each year and begin their careers in the Navy.

Date taken: 03.01.2022
Date posted: 03.01.2022 10:00
Story ID: 415508

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