His passion for service, dedication to his command and love of country are just a few attributes that contributed to why U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Pasqual Armijo IV was named the 2021-22 U.S. Navy Shore Sailor of the Year.
The Belen native, who is now stationed at Bangor Base in Kitsap, Wash., will soon be transferred to a base in Virginia and, because of the recent honor, will be formally promoted to chief petty officer in October.
Armijo joined the U.S. Navy in 2012, two years after graduating from Belen High School and while in college. His desire to join the military was two fold — for love of country and to carry on his family’s tradition.
“I felt the need to serve, and it’s kind of the family business,” Armijo said of why he joined the military. “My great-grandfather and his five brothers served in World War II, my grandfather — my mom’s dad — was a Marine, and my uncle is a retired colonel in the Marine Corps.
“They set the example, but I believe in a life of service,” he said. “It’s just what brings me fulfillment.”
One of the reasons Armijo chose to join the U.S. Navy 10 years ago was the opportunities to travel, which he’s been able to do since his first active-duty assignment at Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy, where he began his career as a master at arms (security forces).
While stationed in San Diego, Calif., Armijo deployed to the Middle East, and was again able to travel around the world.
“When I was in Europe, it was so easy to travel, and it’s been a great experience,” he said. “It’s amazing to experience different cultures. Even when I was in the Middle East, I was able to go to Dubai.”
Armijo was nominated by his commanding officer for the Navy Shore recognition, but it’s been a six-month, four-stage process of testing and interviewing. He competed against sailors stationed here in the United States and those serving overseas.
“I was going in genuinely being myself,” Armijo said of the process. “I think that’s why I do well on these type of things. I feel like I naturally find myself in leadership roles my entire life.”
Armijo, who played both football and baseball for the Belen Eagles, said he wasn’t nervous during the oral interviews with five master chiefs at the Pentagon. And when U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Johnny Wolfe Jr. called him in mid June to congratulate him on the honor of being named Shore Sailor of the Year, Armijo was elated and humbled.
“I was excited; honestly just honored to be able to represent my command at the highest level,” Armijo said. “(I owe) all the leaders that imparted knowledge and wisdom on me because I just didn’t win it, I had a lot of people who helped me along the way.”
“The competition was robust and reflected the highest caliber of sailors serving throughout the world. Each of these sailors represented their commands and the entire enlisted community with distinction,” a U.S. Navy release stated.
During his time in the military, Armijo continues to pursue his bachelor’s in Homeland Security from the University of Maryland, where he only has to complete three more classes to earn his degree. Armijo’s’ awards include Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (third award), and various campaign, service and unit awards.
Armijo was able to come home to the Hub City last week, to visit family and friends, including his parents, Pasqual and Christella Armijo.
“I miss my family; it’s hard being away from them,” he said. “It’s hard not seeing my brothers and sister grow up, and I missed some things, but you do the best you can when you can come home.”
As for his future, Armijo says he will make the military his career, and has goals to one day be an officer, hopefully ranking up to captain. He says it’s been an honor to serve his country.
“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is discipline,” Armijo said. “If you have discipline in everything you do, you’ll have the freedom to do whatever you want. You need to set goals for yourself and look beyond the horizon and follow through with your goals.”
Armijo and his wife, Luz, who is also in the U.S. Navy, have two children, a 10-year-old girl, and 6-year-old boy.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.