GREAT LAKES, Illinois — A sailor from the Austin area has graduated as top sailor from Recruit Training Command, Division 092, earning the Military Excellence Award.

  • Earned Military Excellence Award
  • Graduated as top sailor
  • Also UT Austin graduate

31-year-old Seaman Recruit Elizabeth Knapek earned the award on Friday. The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is presented to the number 1 recruit of each graduating training group. The winner must exemplify the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork.

The award places Knapek among the top of the newest sailors. The Navy also awarded Knapek a flag letter of commendation for her accomplishments.

“I have grown immensely in my physical abilities, my mental toughness, and my confidence,” said Knapek. “The MEA award will forever stand as a symbol that I can grow past any ideas that I may have had about who I am and become someone beyond what I imagine.”

Knapek graduated from Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville in 2006. She went on to earn Bachelor of Science degrees in chemistry and physics from the University of Texas at Austin.

Knapek says she joined the Navy to grow her leadership skills and to use her expertise in a purposeful way.