After graduating from Lafayette College with degrees in Writing and Philosophy in 2013, Matthew Benincasa went to work as a copywriter for a New York City advertising agency.
But the Rye native recognized that he had another ambition. He wanted to “help combat the growing threat of terrorism against America, liberate oppressed peoples, and provide freedom for those who have never known it.”
Last month, Seaman Recruit Matthew Benincasa, Division 811, graduated as the top Sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award. The award is presented to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing, and teamwork.
The 27-year-old has been assigned the rate of Special Warfare Operator.
Benincasa was surprised but thrilled when he heard the news. “Out of the entire training group, I’m incredibly humbled to be receiving this award. In my division and in our brother division, there were many excellent recruits with strong attention to detail, drive, dedication, and the ability to win this award.” He added, “I’m honored that my hard work was recognized, but I would not be standing here today without the efforts of my teammates.”
What was the most challenging part of Boot Camp? “Being on 24-7.”
After graduation, Benincasa will attend the Naval Special Warfare Preparatory School in Great Lakes, Illinois. Special Warfare Operators perform a multitude of duties in support of special operations missions and operate on, under, and from the sea, the air, and on land. About 30,000 to 40,000 recruits graduate annually from RTC and begin their Navy careers.
Caption: Seaman Recruit Matthew Benincasa