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The Navy Office of Community Outreach announced that Belle Plaine native, Petty Officer 1st Class Blake Chekal, was named the Senior Sailor of the Year aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. This distinction is given to an exemplary sailor selected by a board of senior enlisted out of multiple competitive entries.

Chekal joined the Navy 12 years ago and serves today as a machinist mate (nuclear) responsible for the operation of the propulsion plants onboard. "Receiving this recognition is surreal," said Chekal. "I feel as if most of what we (Reactor Department) do goes unnoticed, or just not well understood and it's nice to be recognized. It's very rewarding to show junior sailors across the ship that hard work and determination are noticed and valued. I am grateful to everyone who refused to let the effort I have put in go unrecognized and I am honored to be Abraham Lincoln's Senior Sailor of the Year."

The USS Abraham Lincoln operates out of San Diego, California and is America's fifth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The ship is the second ship in the U.S. Navy to bear his name.

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