The Challenge:

Write on a topic that makes the naval profession stronger. No subject is too large or too small. For example:

  • Identify opportunities to better use enlisted professionals' talents.
  • Share leadership best practices.
  • Improve tactical doctrine.
  • Identify unfair rules or policies.
  • Provide insider information to Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
  • Help first-tour ensigns and/or second lieutenants do their jobs more effectively.


Open to enlisted personnel—active duty, reserve and retired--from any of the nation's sea services.


1,500 words maximum (excludes footnotes/endnotes/sources).

Prior Publication

Your essay must be original , not been previously published (online or in print) or being considered for publication elsewhere.


First Prize: $3,000 Second Prize: $2,000 Third Prize: $1,000

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email essay as a Microsoft Word attachment to [email protected] with Enlisted Prize Essay Contest in subject line of the email.
  • Include word count on title page of essay but do not include your name on title page or within the essay
  • Provide separate attachment to include biography and complete contact information—i.e., home mailing address and work, home, and cell phone numbers.
  • Deadline: 30 April 2019.

Selection Process

The Proceedings staff members will evaluate every essay and screen the top essays to a special Essay Selection Committee of at least six members who will include two members of the Naval Institute’s Editorial Board and four subject experts. All essays will be judged in the blind—i.e., the Proceedings staff members and judges will not know the authors of the essays.

Announcement of the Winners

Winners will be published in a future issue of Proceedings and recognized at WEST 2020.

Selected Submissions

First Prize
Petty Officer First Class John C. Minor, U.S. Navy
Second Prize
Petty Officer Second Class Tyler Ruby Cerka, U.S. Navy
Third Prize
Sergeant Daniel Hill, U.S. Marine Corps

Previous Winners