NAPLES, Italy -- In front of an Allied Joint Force Command formation last month, Canadian Army Master Warrant Officer Dean Griffin was formally recognized as the JFC Naples outstanding military servicemember of the 2016 second semester.
Griffin was pitted against 13 other enlisted nominees from across the headquarters for the bi-annual recognition. Each of the nominees was selected by their respective sections. Competing personnel, along with their sections, provided a packet and appeared before a board of the most senior JFC Naples enlisted personnel.
"It’s nice to know somebody took the time to recognize what was done,” Griffin said.
Griffin, who will reach 28 years of Army service later this year, has made a visible impact at JFC Naples since his 2015 arrival while serving as the Joint Mobile Training Team coordinator and part of the Military Partnership Branch’s NATO Support to the African Union Core Team.
The human resources administration background helped prepare Griffin for success at JFC Naples, but he admits adjusting to his first NATO assignment didn’t come overnight. Griffin cited the headquarters environment coupled with the international aspect provided a double culture shock.
"It’s completely different,” said Griffin. "We’re so used to doing things a certain way, then you have to adjust.”
Now that he’s got his NATO bearings, Griffin said he appreciates the work environment at JFC Naples and the opportunity to work and mingle alongside troops from other nations while gaining insight into how they do things in their forces. Griffin also said the sense of community and togetherness that being a Canadian stationed in Naples offers as another bonus to his overseas post.
With a wink, Griffin touted a couple of other perks to being in Italy.
"The weather and the vino,” quipped Griffin.
The Montreal-area native said being nominated for the recognition was an honor in itself, but he was quick to add that he’s not in the noncommissioned officer business to seek the spotlight.
What he does seek at JFC Naples is more NCOs taking on more responsibilities and for divisions to entrust their NCOs. He cited that NCOs are used to taking on challenges, grooming junior officers and making things happen.
"We have NCOs with lots of potential,” said Griffin. "If we don’t use it, it’s a loss for NATO.”
As for how the recognition will affect Griffin’s efforts in the headquarters building, he said it won’t.
"I’m just going to continue to do my job the best I can,” Griffin said.
Griffin, who has done a stint in Bosnia and deployed to Afghanistan twice, said he’s got a few more years of service in the tank. He’s looking to 2023 where it will be "Freedom 55”, an expression he said is used in the Canadian forces to mark when a Soldier reaches retirement eligible age. He added that with three kids currently studying at university, the timing to cap off his career couldn’t be better.
The newly minted servicemember of the semester isn’t resting on his vast experience. He is slated to attend an Advanced Leadership Course in Switzerland this month.
Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office