Sailor of the Year
Greg Gaylor (BS '05, Aviation Flight Science
) instructed flight for WMU's College of Aviation, but in early November he was honored as Sailor of the Year at the Annual USO "Spirit of the USO Award" Gala.
EOD2 (EWS) Gregory F. Gaylor is attached to EODMU Three, Naval Base San Diego, California. EOD2 stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer Second Class—also known as E-5, or the fifth step of nine enlisted ranks. EWS stands for Enlisted Warfare Specialist and EODMU stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit.
Out of the approximately 300,000 sailors in the U.S. Navy, Gaylor was the only one recognized with the award this year—the Annual event is held to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of an enlisted hero from each branch of the military.
He has also been awarded the Bronze Star for his service. Michigan House Representative Dave Camp had the following to say about Gaylor, on Congressional Record September 21, 2012. The statement outlines Gaylor's service and examples as to why he is being honored:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Petty Officer Gregory Gaylor, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician with the United States Navy. Petty Officer Gaylor is being honored by the Navy at the USO annual gala this November as the 2012 USO Sailor of the Year. He is being recognized for the steadfast determination and unwavering courage he displayed in saving the lives of his fellow soldiers and furthering the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of Petty Officer Gaylor’s service came when he expertly led a three man EOD team during combat operations in Afghanistan from December 2011 to June 2012, in which he was responsible for locating and dismantling Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), among other objectives. In April of 2012, Gaylor and his team were fired upon by four separate machine gun positions, but with little regard for his own safety he managed to clear a nearby compound of explosive hazards and help transport those wounded from the line of fire. Overall, he located and destroyed four IEDs, faced six direct fire engagements, and trained over 300 Afghan Commandos in Counter-IED tactics and basic demolition techniques, which aided in the autonomy of Afghan security forces.
The courageous and selfless actions of Petty Officer Gaylor are truly commendable and indicative of the skill, professionalism and fortitude of the men and women of the United States Navy. On behalf of the Fourth Congressional District, I congratulate Petty Officer Gaylor on achieving the USO Sailor of the Year honor and thank him for his remarkable service to this great nation. "
Guests at the Annual USO Spirit of the USO Award Gala included Washington dignitaries, celebrities, members of congress, military leadership, members of the USO Board of Governors, and USO corporate sponsors.
Gaylor was hired as a flight instructor for WMU in December 2005. He joined Atlantic Southeast Airways in April 2006 and then returned to instructing flight at WMU in January 2008. In July 2008, Gaylor left again—this time for the Navy.