United States Navy Seaman Recruit Chelsea Gornot, Division 163, graduated as the top Sailor from USN Recruit Training Command (RTC), earning the Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award (MEA) on April 24, 2020.

Gornot, a Filipina who lived in San Diego, California, said she joined the U.S. Navy to further her education, travel opportunities, and to earn United States citizenship.

(USN Photo: Seaman Recruit Chelsea Gornot of Division 163, US Navy)

“Most importantly, it is my pride and honor to serve this country and be a part of the world’s finest Navy,” Gornot said. “I also joined because I wanted financial stability in order to give back to my family here and in the Philippines.”

Gornot, 20, is a 2018 graduate of the University of Nueva Caceres in Dinalupihan, Bataan, Philippines, where she was a photojournalist.

Gornot is assigned the rate of Hospital Corpsman.

The Navy Club of the United States MEA is the top award presented to the No. 1 recruit of their graduating training group.

The MEA is awarded to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing, and teamwork.

The award placed Gornot at the pinnacle of today’s newest U.S. Navy Sailors. She is awarded a flag letter of commendation.

Gornot said she was surprised and honored to receive the MEA.

“I could not believe it,” she said. “It was a euphoric situation for me thinking that out of 600 recruits I made it to the No. 1 spot. I know that I may have failed on some things here in boot camp, but I took that hit, kept going and remained positive,” Gornot said.

Gornot credited her Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Gunner’s Mate Ray Cureton Jr., Chief Fire Controlman Michael Fahie, and Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Brittanyann Sellona for their leadership and guidance.

A strong support system back home kept her motivated and focused.

“My family motivated me, but I am aware that I motivated myself more than anyone else,” Gornot said. “I’ve always told myself things like ‘Hey, you got this. Give it your best shot. You know you can do better than what you did.’ I also have a positive mindset that made me think failures are never a loss, rather a win and a learning situation with a twist.”

Gornot said the toughest part of boot camp was communication.

“I got here in the U.S. 11 months ago and the culture is completely different, so is the language,” Gornot said. “English is my second language. I found that at times it would be difficult to understand the accent or pronunciation of certain words.”

After graduation, Gornot will attend “A” School in San Antonio, Texas. Hospital Corpsmen to perform duties as assistants to medical and dental professionals in the prevention and treatment of disease and injury and assist health care professionals in providing dental and medical care to Naval personnel and their families.

Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seasmanship, firearms, firefighting and shipboard damage control along with lessons in Navy heritage and core values, teamwork and discipline. More than 35,000 recruits are trained annually at RTC and begin their Navy careers. (Alan Nunn, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs, United States Navy)