Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, Rear Adm. Brendan R. McLane presented 11 Sailors with the highest award in Navy recruiting, the Master Chief Anthony George Bakarian Award, August 16.

In attendance, were widow Diane Bakarian and one of their three daughters, Allison. 

“When you join the Navy you always hear about being part of something bigger than yourself,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Stephen Hunter, an award recipient from Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Richmond. “Winning this award and coming here being honored for my accomplishments really brings it home.” 

The award is named after Navy Counselor Master Chief Anthony George Bakarian who was very influential in the world of Navy recruiting. He was an experienced Fleet Sailor and veteran of the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars, serving on USS HORNE (DLG 30), USS CHICAGO (CG 11), USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), and returned back to USS HORNE (DLG 30) prior to converting into the Career Recruiting Force community. He took his field experience and applied it to recruiting, working as the Chief Recruiter at Navy Recruiting District (NRD) Columbia and NRD Albuquerque, where he was the enlisted runner-up to recruiter of the year.

“His legacy of recruiting still lives in these halls right here at NORU,” said McLane. “His professionalism, imagination, and superb leadership had a substantial impact on all aspects of the recruiting enterprise.”

The common theme shared by these successful recruiters is how they view the Future Sailors, respecting them as individuals with feelings, goals, and stories. Future Sailors aren’t just a number to fill a quota. These top recruiters go the extra mile for each individual they recruit, because they want the best candidates to join them in naval service.

“I believe in authenticity,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Hayden, a recipient from Navy Talent Acquisition Force (NTAF) Mid-South. “When you tailor-make each conversation to that individual, they’re going to believe in you because you believe in them.”

Navy recruiting is facing many modern challenges such as low unemployment, a limited number of qualified American citizens, and an expanding number of ships needing to be crewed. Because of this, high-quality recruiters, like those receiving the Bakarian Award, are integral to our national security and to completing the Navy’s mission around the world.

“It’s always good when you get this type of positive reinforcement and recognition,” said Lt. Cassandra Wilson, an award recipient from NRD Miami. “It definitely motivates me to get back out there and achieve more and do better.” 

Bakarian saw the value of recruiting, and he created a legacy of professionalism, imagination, and superb leadership that has had a substantial impact on the recruiting enterprise as a whole. 

“Satisfied parents are the Navy’s best advertising,” Bakarian said in a 1986 New York Times article. To pursue this type of word-of-mouth recruiting, he dedicated himself to the families of those he put in the Navy, and recommended that he and the recruiters remain available to parents for up to six months to a year after they leave for basic training. 

“We are all forever grateful for his wisdom, guidance and dedication to inspiring thousands of individuals to serve in our great Navy,” said Mclane. “Master Chief Bakarian would be very proud of your dedication and the impact you make every single day.”

The Sailors who received the award are as follows: Lt. Cmdr. Omar Vieira of Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Rocky Mountain, Lt. Jeremy Watson of NRD Raleigh, Lt. Cassandra Wilson of NRD Miami, Lt. Sergei Working of NRD Chicago, Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Brandon Sotelo of NRD San Diego, Machinist Mate 1st Class Alejandro Ibarra of NRD San Diego, Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jacob Hayden of Navy Talent Acquisition Force Mid-South, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Stephen Hunter of NRD Richmond, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Marsell James of NRD Atlanta, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Shane Monaghan of NTAG New Orleans, and Boatswains Mate 2nd Class Jacqueline VanderGraaff of NRD Chicago.

The Navy’s recruiting force totals over 6,100 personnel in more than 1,000 recruiting stations around the globe. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

NRC consists of a command headquarters, two Navy Recruiting Regions, 20 Navy Recruiting Districts and six Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,000 recruiting stations across the country.

For more news from Commander, Navy Recruiting Command, go to Follow Navy Recruiting on Facebook (, Twitter (@USNRecruiter) and Instagram (@USNRecruiter).

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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)