By Alan Nunn, Recruit Training Command Public Affairs
Murray said winning the MEA represents breaking boundaries.
“I was able to go outside of my comfort zone to do the best I could for others and myself,” Murray said. “I hope to take everything I learned and did in order to obtain this award and put it toward helping others and pushing them outside of their limits so they become the best version of themselves. Winning this award makes me want to strive to continue to do better and get others to do the same.”
The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award 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 Murray at the pinnacle of today’s newest sailors; she was awarded a flag letter of commendation for her achievements.
Murray, 18, is a 2019 graduate of Robbinsville High School in Robbinsville, New Jersey, where she was a member of the National Honor Society, the World Language Honor Society and played varsity soccer.
Murray was a petty officer first class with the John T. Dempster Division Sea Cadets in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She was employed as an instructor at a karate school in her hometown and has a third degree black belt.
Murray said she joined the Navy to help others.
“I wanted to give my life a different purpose and have always wanted to serve something other than myself,” Murray said. “My community has helped me in many ways and my goal is give back and not only help, but also protect others who cannot protect themselves.”
Murray credited her Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Boatswain’s Mate Heather Dovala, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class John Wooten, and Logistics Specialist 1st Class Peter Kengere for their leadership and guidance.
“My RDCs pushed me to my limits and broke me down just to build me back up,” Murray said. “Chief Dovala, Petty Officer Wooten, and Petty Officer Kengere always held me to the highest standards and made sure that I always gave one 100 percent. Petty Officer Kengere also always played encouraging speeches and gave many motivating talks that pushed me to go farther and be better. I would like to thank each of them for all that they did for the division and pushing me to be the best I could be.”
Learning to work with all her shipmates was Murray’s biggest challenge at boot camp.
“Growing up in a small town, everyone knew everyone,” Murray said. “Meeting all new people from all over, with many different personalities, was hard. I was able to overcome this by understanding people’s personalities and finding those who I could connect with to help get through the toughness of boot camp.”
Boot camp is approximately eight weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes physical fitness, seamanship, 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.
Murray is assigned the rate of machinist mate (nuclear).
After graduation, Murray will attend Nuclear Machinist’s Mate “A” School in Charleston, South Carolina. She will then go to Nuclear Propulsion School and finally Prototype School. Machinist Mate duties in nuclear propulsion plants include operating reactor control, propulsion and power generation systems. Murray will be able to choose between serving on an aircraft carrier and volunteering for submarine duty.