Story by LT Katherine Diener on 12/14/2018A 2010 Weatherford High School graduate and Weatherford, Texas, native was announced as the 2018 Commander, Submarine Group 10 Sailor of the Year at a ceremony on Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia, Dec. 3.
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Santos Alarcon reported to Submarine Group 10 in 2016 as the guided-missile submarine (SSGN) Culinary Support Specialist. Over the last year, Alarcon forward deployed to support an undermanned SSGN Culinary Specialist team for Special Forces operations. While in homeport, he is a vital member of the admiral's Flag Mess and also serves as the command's Assistant Command Fitness Leader, Command Sponsorship Program Coordinator, vice president of the recreation committee, building manager and an active member of the command's Petty Officer Association.
Representing the top achievers from the staff, Alarcon received a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his accomplishments.
"It means a lot to achieve this award," said Alarcon. "I use these milestones as motivation to keep me working towards my next goal."
Submarine Group 10 leads and synchronizes the teams supporting the submarine force homeported on the base, home to five ballistic-missile submarines and two guided-missile submarines. The group ensures the submarines are properly manned, trained, equipped and certified to conduct decisive combat operations around world.
Rear Adm. Jeff Jablon, commander, Submarine Group 10, expressed the pride he has for Alarcon's accomplishments and dedication.
"Petty Officer Alarcon represents the best of the very best in our Navy, I am continuously impressed with his motivation and pride he takes in his job," said Jablon. "Alarcon's hand-selection as Sailor of the Year is a testament to his dedication not only to his job, but also his peers. He is a direct reflection of the caliber of Sailor we need in the fleet."
Alarcon, who was born in Dallas, joined the Navy 2010 to set an example for his younger brothers. He has one brother in the Air Force and another joining the Army.
"My family always motivates me," said Alarcon. "My dad taught me a strong work ethic and that hard work pays off and my mom stressed how important education is. Their support for me is what keeps me going."
Prior to reporting to Submarine Group 10, Alarcon was stationed onboard the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Maryland (SSBN 738). While assigned, he completed his submarine warfare qualifications, earning his silver "dolphins". He completed seven strategic deterrent patrols and sailed Maryland into its Engineered Refueling Overhaul in Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 2015, Alarcon was meritoriously advanced to second class petty officer.
"Being a submariner is extremely rewarding," he said. "Your shipmates become your second family and the camaraderie is very different than any other community."
Regardless of their specialty, every Submariner also has to learn how every system on the submarine works and how to respond in emergencies. To become qualified in submarines is challenging, however earns the Sailor the right to wear the coveted "dolphins" on their uniform and life-long respect among colleagues and veterans.
"Earning my dolphins was a huge accomplishment," he said. "When you see dolphins on a submariner, it means that you know you can rely on them for help and, in return, they know they can lean on you as well."
Petty Officer Alarcon is currently working on a Bachelor's Degree in Health Sciences and most recently finished his first marathon. He plans on make the Navy a career and earning the rank of chief petty officer.
He is the spouse of Tiffany and father to Savanna, Aaron, Lucian and Maria.