Blue Jacket of the Year

25 Feb 2021 | Cpl. Elijah Abernathy 2nd Marine Division

In March of 2020, while attached to Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine regiment, 2d Marine Division (2d MarDiv) Hospitalman Gilbert Gonzalez, a native of La Palma, C.A., demonstrated his dedication and passion as a U.S. Navy corpsmen. It was on Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., where Gonzalez developed his reputation for being calm and collected while providing medical support during high intensity training. The corpsman was attentive and detail oriented while administering acute concussion evaluations to .Marines in the field.

Every year, U.S. Navy commands throughout the fleet nominate their Blue Jacket of the Year. The award recognizes Sailors who stand out above the rest. Gonzalez a corpsmen with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment (2/6), 2d MarDiv is this year’s awardee.

“I was surprised when they told me I was nominated,” Gonzales said. “I was happy to compete against other qualified Sailors.”

The process of selecting honorees is initiated by department leadership members who nominate their Sailors. The nominated Sailors are then evaluated against other nominees from across the Navy. Finalists then stand before a board of senior Sailors who judge the nominees on professional military knowledge, leadership, military bearing, appearance and current events.

Gonzalez had always wanted to join the Navy, train alongside Marines and practice medicine. In August of 2015, Gonzalez followed in the footsteps of his older sister and enlisted in the military to serve his country to the best of his ability.

“My motivation is driven by goals I have set for myself,” Gonzalez said. “I wanted to be a corpsman and earn my Fleet Marine Force Pin. I achieved those goals and now I want to become a K9 handler for the Navy as a Master at Arms.”
Every success comes with its fair share of challenges and Gonzalez’s climb to the top has been no exception.
“The biggest challenge has definitely been learning how to participate in a board the correct way,” Gonzalez said. “By working hard and constantly practicing, I was able to easily conduct my board and stand out amongst my fellow Sailors.”

Gonzalez is determined and consistently working toward his future. The key to finding balance in his professional career and personal life is to take things as they come. Gonzalez’ strong work ethic has not gone unnoticed by his Staff Non-Commissioned Officers in 2/6.

“HN Gonzalez is the perfect example of what a Sailor should be,” said Chief Petty Officer Rich Kleber, battalion chief with 2/6, 2d MarDiv. “I truly believe that Gonzalez is the future of the Navy.”
Kleber highlights that Gonzalez’s sted-fast professionalism and attention to detail, along with his impeccable work ethic, is what put him above his peers, and ultimately is why he was chosen to be 2d MarDiv’s Blue Jacket of the year.

By winning the Blue Jacket of the Year award, Gonzalez hopes that he can be an example to other Sailors and help motivate them as well.

A piece of advice Gonzalez would like to share with other Sailors reaching for success in their careers is, “Never back down from a challenge and continue to move forward so you can expand your limits.”