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U.S. COAST GUARD 2020 EDITION

A PUBLICATION OF THE DAILY ADVANCE, CHOWAN HERALD & THE PERQUIMANS WEEKLY


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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020




U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

ON THE COVER

CONTENTS

WHAT’S INSIDE? U.S. COAST GUARD 2020 EDITION

A PUBLICATION OF THE DAILY ADVANCE, CHOWAN HERALD & THE PERQUIMANS WEEKLY

Pictured (top and clockwise) Aviation Maintenance Technician Martin Andrada (left) poses with (l-r) Lt. Karisa Kealy, Mimi Reiheld and Robert Reiheld following the U.S. Coast Guard’s rescue of the Reihelds and their cat, Spook, from their sinking houseboat, The Lotus Eater, on the Scuppernong River, June 13. Rear Adm. Keith Smith (left), commander of the 5th Coast Guard District, presents a Legion of Merit award to Capt. Joseph Deer, during a change of command ceremony at Air Station Elizabeth City, Wednesday, June 22. Petty Officer 3rd Class Clarissa Ojeda is a yeoman assigned to Base Elizabeth City. As a servicing personnel officer, she is responsible for maintaining the personnel records of more than 300 fellow Coast Guard members.

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Coasties put training to work in sinking vessel rescue Story enjoys rescue missions, managing boat station’s assets Bright future, chance to serve drew Ojeda to USCG Green combines love of Aviation, job as mechanic Mercurio: Hard to pick most significant USCG mission Lewin takes over at air station as Deer retires Wilson takes over for Hartnett at ALC Hutley takes over at NSF Coordination Center Storch retires from APO, Brooks takes command Rescue swimmer Todd returns to EC as instructor

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Andrada part of USCG honor guard at Trump inauguration Small Boat Station’s Cloin pursuing dream job As AET2 at air station, Hurley following in dad’s footsteps Howell: USCG provides ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities At C27 office, Santiago gets to be both fixer, flyer Spoon enjoys service to fellow Coasties, families Coast Guard honors Ward with Gray Award Coast Guard policy promotes diversity and inclusion Coast Guard, EC to host half marathon, 5K in 2021 ECSU builds on relationship with Coast Guard

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Coasties put training to work in sinking vessel rescue BY PAUL NIELSEN Staff Writer

A

viation Maintenance Technician Martin Andrada joined the Coast Guard over five years ago to help people in dire circumstances. Andrada did the same thing as a firefighter for seven years before joining the Coast Guard in 2015. However, it wasn’t until June that Andrada, who was first assigned to Coast Guard Base Elizabeth in 2018, took part in his first search-and-rescue mission. Andrada was part of a four-person crew, which included a pilot, co-pilot and rescue swimmer, aboard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter that was dispatched to the sinking houseboat on the Scuppernong River in Albemarle Sound on June 13. It will be a day the 32-year-old will never forget — in part, Andrada says, because the “celebrity” in the rescue of Robert and Mimi Reiheld from their sinking houseboat turned out to be their cat Spook. Andrada finished his flight mechanic qualifications, which is a requirement to take part in search-andrescues, or SARs, just a few weeks before the June 13th mission.  The Coast Guard was alerted to the Reihelds’ situation after being notified by law enforcement authorities that a houseboat was taking on water. When Andrada, the flight mechanic on the mission, and his fellow crew members arrived at the Reihelds’ position, they found the 50-foot houseboat, The Lotus Eater, nearly submerged.



Aviation Maintenance Technician Martin Andrada (left) poses with (l-r) Lt. Karisa Kealy, Mimi Reiheld and Robert Reiheld following the U.S. Coast Guard’s rescue of the Reihelds and their cat, Spook, from their sinking houseboat, The Lotus Eater, on the Scuppernong River, June 13. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Robert Reiheld was on the railing of the sinking boat while his wife Mimi was looking out a window when the Coast Guard arrived. Somewhere out of sight was Spook. On the flight to the scene, Andrada and the other crew members discussed possible rescue scenarios based on initial reports, including what to do with a cat in a noisy helicopter. “We train for a variety of situations, using different techniques and equipment,” Andrada said. “The great part of being part of a flight crew like that is everyone has an equal say what is going on in the helicopter and what we are going to do.” Those discussions continued as the helicopter took several “laps” around the houseboat as the crew assessed the scene while formulating a plan of action, Andrada said. Those discussion included what to do about Spook. “On the way out there, we were briefed by radio that there was a cat onboard and that was a topic of discussion,” Andrada said. “We discussed how we would get the cat onboard and how to keep the cat from being a hazard onboard. You don’t want a frightened feline hopping around the cockpit.” Andrada said the houseboat was “obviously in distress’’ when the helicopter arrived. Manning the helicopter’s hoist, he lowered Rescue Swimmer Mario Estevane into the water near the boat. “He assessed if they had any physical injuries and

determined if they were going to be able to depart the vessel and get into the rescue basket to be brought aboard,’’ Andrada said. One by one, the Reihelds were safely hoisted aboard the helicopter. “There was a lot of relief,” Andrada said when both the Reihelds were safely aboard the chopper. “They were very thankful to us for coming out and helping them in their time of need.” Despite Estevane’s best efforts, however, Spook was nowhere to be found. The helicopter crew made the decision to retrieve Estevane from the water. But while the air rescue was unfolding, a Coast Guard Rescue Boat from Small Boat Station Elizabeth City arrived on the scene. Its crew was able to safely locate Spook. “The cat turned out to be the celebrity,” Andrada said. “People kind of laugh when I tell them my first rescue mission was two people, and a cat.” The rescue was also the first for Lt. Karisa Kealy, one of the pilots on the helicopter. “We’re fortunate that we train for these types of scenarios all of the time,” Kealy said the day of the rescue, according to a Coast Guard press release. “Even though it may be different when you are responding to an actual emergency, you have a solid foundation from your training to always fall back on. That’s what makes the Coast Guard so good at what we do.”


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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Story enjoys rescue missions, managing boat station’s assets

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FROM STAFF REPORTS

oining the U.S. Coast Guard allowed Kendall Story to pursue two great passions: his desire to serve and protect his country and his love of being out on the water. Story, who grew up in southeastern Virginia, said he joined the Coast Guard in October 2006 after talking to friends who had already enlisted. “They were telling me about all the opportunities that the service offered. I was excited to sign up and be part of the team,” he said. Story, now is 33 and a machinery technician/E-6 at Small Boat Station Elizabeth City, said he enjoys his work in the Coast Guard. “I personally enjoy the job satisfaction that I get responding to a search and rescue or law enforcement case to assist those in need,” he said. “Managing assets such as our cutters and boats brings me joy knowing that the work I do allows those critical assets to be used to save lives and enforce laws.” Story says his current job at the Small Boat Station is “one that I worked hard to obtain.” “I am the engineering petty officer (EPO), which means that I am the supervisor for the entire engineering department here at the unit,”



Engineering Petty Officer 1st Class Kendall Story is shown at the controls of a Coast Guard vessel at Small Boat Station Elizabeth City. A machinery technician, Story’s responsibilities at the station include overseeing the upkeep of the station’s three boats and trailers, along with search-andrescue equipment. He also conducts search-and-rescue and law enforcement missions. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

he said. His responsibilities include overseeing the upkeep of the station’s three boats and trailers, along with search-and-rescue equipment such as dewatering pumps. He also conducts searchand-rescue and law enforcement missions on the water on a daily basis. Story said the most significant mission he’s participated in while a member of the Coast Guard happened at a previous duty

assignment. It involved the rescue of a woman and her two children who had been out on the water in a personal watercraft. According to Story, the woman struck a wave outside the surf line that ejected her but left the two young children still aboard the watercraft. A rip current then pulled the woman away from the watercraft, which then proceeded to drift offshore, still with the children aboard. No one saw the incident happen, continued on page 10

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Bright future, chance to serve draw Ojeda to USCG

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Petty Officer 3rd Class Clarissa Ojeda is a yeoman assigned to Base Elizabeth City. Petty Officer 2nd Class Lara Davis/US Coast Guard

BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

A

chance for a future filled with accomplishments and to serve others are among the reasons Petty Officer 3rd Class Clarissa Ojeda joined the US Coast Guard. “I wanted a future where I could look back at my past and be proud of how far I came, what I accomplished, and hopefully the lives I helped make better,” she said. Ojeda, 25, joined the Coast Guard in August 2016. The San Diego native is a yeoman assigned to Base Elizabeth City, where she works as a servicing personnel officer. She is responsible for maintaining the personnel records of more than 300 fellow service members. It’s the opportunity to work with so many different members of the Coast Guard that attracted her to a career as a yeoman. “Coming into the Coast Guard I was originally at an operational unit, which I really enjoyed,” she said. “I really liked the idea of helping people and getting to know members on a different level. So, I chose to go into the yeoman rating.”

With a roster of about 40,000 active duty personnel, the Coast Guard is the smallest of the nation’s five armed services. Belonging to such a small service makes it special to Ojeda.

rates they have chosen. It’s a good Command, the Aviation Technical representation of the overall Coast Training Command, the small boat Guard, she said. station, the air station and the “I like Base Elizabeth City because of National Strike Force. The NSF is how diverse it is when it comes to located off the main base on U.S. people and ratings,” she said. “There Highway 17 just north of town. is a little bit of everything, plus the Ojeda has earned several ribbons sunrises are beautiful.” and medals during her time in Base Elizabeth City is one of seven the Coast Guard, to include a commands that make up the & Coast meritorious team commendation letter of LLP Guard presence in Elizabeth City. ribbon, a Commandant’s The other commands are the Aircraft commendation ribbon, a sea service ribbon and aat good conduct medal. Attorneys Law Project Office, the Aviation Logistics

“I enjoy being a part of such a small service. You get to move around and meet new people, or see someone you crossed paths with before,” she said. “You have people that are there to help mold you into a better leader, give you opportunities to succeed and to get out of your comfort zone.” Prior to Elizabeth City, Ojeda was stationed aboard the Cutter Terrapin, W. Hackney High, Jr. William M. Crowe an 87-foot coastal patrol boat that Attorney at Law Attorney at Law wcrowe@highandcrowe.com calls Bellingham, Washington, its whigh@highandcrowe.com & && homeport. Aboard Terrapin, Ojeda LLP LLPLLP participated in a variety of Coast Guard missions. Attorneys at Law Attorneys at Law Attorneys at Law “I really enjoyed conducting law 252-482-4422 enforcement and search and rescue W. Hackney High, Jr. William M. Crowe missions while onboard Terrapin,” she Attorney at Law Attorney W. Hackney High, William Crowe W. Hackney High, Jr. Jr.at Law William M. M. Crowe said. “There is no greater feeling than whigh@highandcrowe.com Attorney at Law Attorney at Law Attorney atwcrowe@highandcrowe.com Law Attorney at Law being a part of saving lives.” whigh@highandcrowe.com wcrowe@highandcrowe.com whigh@highandcrowe.com wcrowe@highandcrowe.com Closer to home, Ojeda says she enjoys Base Elizabeth City because of the andLitigation Criminal Real• Personal EstateInjury CivilCivil and Criminal • Real Litigation Estate • Wills and• Estates diversity in people and the career Wills and Estates • Personal Injury Corporations • Governmental Affairs Corporations • Governmental Affairs

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



Green

Combines Love Of Aviation, Job As Mechanic

Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

P

etty Officer 1st Class Casey Green said it didn’t take long for him to decide he wanted to make the U.S. Coast Guard a career. Green, 43, joined the Coast Guard in December 2002 and soon after turned his interests in mechanics and aviation into a career as an aviation maintenance technician. “I have always enjoyed doing the job of a mechanic; I also have a love for aviation,” Green said, on why he chose the AMT field. “It was a simple decision when I realized I could combine the two.” Green is assigned to the Aviation Technical Training Command, where he serves as a “C” school instructor to qualified aircrew members of the HC144 Ocean Sentry fixed wing aircraft. “I teach a technical aircraft systems class to qualified aircrew members attached to the HC-144 airframe,” Green said. The ATTC is home to all Coast Guard aviation

enlisted training “A” schools. Every enlisted aviator in the fleet has at least served in Elizabeth City for the duration of their job training. While an “A” school represents the entry level training course for all Coast Guard enlisted career ratings, “C” schools are courses qualified members of a particular job or rating take later to enhance their career performance. “I love being able to share the knowledge and experience I have gathered with junior Coast Guard members,” said Green, who is a native of Tampa, Florida. Asked what he likes most about the Coast Guard, Green answered it is a love for helping others. “I love that the Coast Guard prides itself in serving the community,” he said. “A majority of what I have trained for and done up to now in my career has been largely geared toward saving people’s lives.” As evidence to that, Green has earned two Coast Guard rescue of the year medals, including one

rescue off the East Coast. “I was part of an aircrew that was awarded the Coast Guard rescue of the year for saving the crew of a sinking fishing vessel of the coast of North Carolina,” Green said. He’s also a three-time recipient of Coast Guard achievement medals. Asked what he likes about Elizabeth City, Green said it is a good fit for his wife and two children. “I think Elizabeth City is very family oriented; a great place to raise my children and is in close proximity to a majority of my family,” he said. “I also enjoy all of the water access in the area.” Green is on his second tour in Elizabeth City; he spent 2005 to 2010 assigned to the air station. He was assigned to Air Station Miami for the next five years, and worked at Aviation Training Center Mobile, Alabama up till 2018 before transferring to ATTC.


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

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Mercurio:

Hard to pick most significant USCG mission

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BY CHRIS DAY AND KESHA WILLIAMS Starr Writers

etty Officer 1st Class Kaitlin Mercurio says it’s tough to pick the most significant mission she’s participated in while in the US Coast Guard. “This is a hard question to answer,” said Mercurio, a yeoman assigned to the HC-27J Asset Project Office. While previously stationed aboard the Cutter Sequoia, she took part in a variety of Coast Guard operations. There is one humanitarian mission that stands out more than others, she said. The Sequoia is a 225-foot seagoing buoy tender based in the US territory of Guam, in the Pacific Ocean. On one patrol, Mercurio and her shipmates visited the city of Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. The crew met with local fishermen to educate and to promote maritime safety, and to paint their vessels a bright orange to help locate them quicker in the event of search and rescue. “There are so many small islands in the middle of the ocean and the locals that live on them don’t always have the resources necessary to keep themselves safe when they go out on the water,” Mercurio said. “It was extremely fulfilling to be able to help mitigate some of the dangers they’re faced with.” The Asset Project Office was formed in 2014 with the purpose to “missionize” 14 HC-27J fixed-wing aircraft. The two-engine planes were originally purchased for use by the US Air Force but were retired in 2012. Mercurio, who is 26 years old, was promoted to first class on June 1. At APO, she is responsible for assisting unit members and their dependents, among other jobs. “I council members on policy, authorize travel, control the unit’s governmental travel charge cards and publicize USCG messages,” she said. The opportunity to help others is why she chose the yeoman field. “I wanted a job that maximized my interaction with other members; I’m pretty social and I like being able to help guide people and/or answer their questions,” she said. “I think the people behind an organization are the most important part, and it’s essential to the organization’s success that they’re being taken care of. Being a yeoman is just one of the many jobs that lets you take care of your shipmates.” With a roster of about 40,000 active duty personnel, the Coast Guard is the smallest of the nation’s five armed services. That makes the role of each Coast Guard member more vital, Mercurio believes. “I like that we’re such a small service. Every member is more valuable, because there aren’t an endless amount of us,” she said. Like the Coast Guard, the APO is a small but hardworking command, Mercurio explained. “The APO is a pretty small unit even by Coast Guard standards, but

Petty Officer 1st Class Kaitlin Mercurio (middle) poses with her family during a ceremony in which Mercurio was promoted to first class, Monday, June 1. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

everyone here works hard and shows appreciation toward the others’ efforts,” she said. Mercurio hails from the small New York town of Baldwinsville, whose city limits are split by the Seneca River. She joined the Coast Guard in 2014 in search of a life beyond her hometown. “As cliché as it sounds, I joined because I wanted more out of life than the small town I’m from could offer,” she said. The APO is one of seven commands that make up the Coast Guard presence in Elizabeth City. The other commands are Base Elizabeth City, the Aviation Logistics Command, the Aviation Technical Training Command, the small boat station, the air station and the National Strike Force. The NSF is located off the main base on U.S. Highway 17 just north of town. “I like that there is such variety here,” said Mercurio. “There aren’t usually this many different kinds of commands in such proximity to one another.” Changes for the better to downtown Elizabeth City are among the reasons she’s enjoyed being assigned to the area. “I love that the downtown area is making a comeback,” Mercurio said. “I’ve seen so many changes in the four years I’ve been here and it’s really great to see that it’s being revitalized.” After her tour aboard Cutter Sequoia and prior to coming to Elizabeth City, Mercurio was assigned to Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma, in California, where she completed yeoman “A” school training. She originally served at Base Elizabeth City, before transferring to APO. Mercurio was slated to rotate out of Elizabeth City in June to her next duty assignment, at the Coast Guard’s Pay and Personnel Center in Topeka, Kansas. Mercurio has earned several medals and ribbons, to include two achievement medals, a meritorious unit commendation ribbon, two meritorious team commendation ribbons, a Commandant’s letter of commendation ribbon, a humanitarian service medal, an overseas service ribbon, a sea service ribbon and two good conduct medals.


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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



LEWIN takes over at air

station as Deer retires BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

A

near 40-year career that included tours in two branches of the armed services has come to a close for Capt. Joseph Deer. While a new future awaits Deer and his family, Air Station Elizabeth City has a new commanding officer. Deer, the air station’s commanding officer since 2017, retired Monday, June 22. His retirement fell on the same day he relinquished command of the air station to Capt. William Lewin, during a change of command ceremony held in the station’s hangar. “Today we bid farewell to one great leader, Capt. Joe Deer, and welcome another, Capt. Chip Lewin,” said Rear Adm. Keith Smith, who presided over the change of command. Smith is the commanding officer of the Coast Guard’s 5th District, which extends from the North Carolina/ South Carolina border to New Jersey. Deer flew the UH-1 “Huey” helicopter during the first Persian Gulf War. At the time, he was in the Army Reserves, which he had enlisted in the early 1980s, and was assigned to the Army’s 3rd Armored Division. Among his many medals is the Kuwait Liberation Medal. At the June ceremony, Smith presented Deer with a Legion of Merit award for meritorious service as station commander. In leading up to the award presentation, Smith listed several of the station’s accomplishments under Deer’s leadership. The station’s roughly 280 personnel managed to complete more than 700 search and rescue missions that resulted in more than 500 lives saved or assisted, Smith said. The station’s

C-130 fixed wing crews took part in 29 international ice patrols to the North Atlantic, plus numerous counter-narcotics deployments. “In addition to these operations, Capt. Deer displayed unwavering leadership during three devastating hurricane seasons,” Smith said. During Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in North Carolina in September 2018, Deer managed an additional 21 Coast Guard aircraft and 168 crew members from 15 air stations across the nation, Smith said. Not only is Deer prior servicedesignated, but he also has completed Officer Candidate Schools for both the Army and the Coast Guard, as well as enlisted Army basic training. Deer thanked friends and family in attendance, plus those watching the ceremony via Facebook video. He told the audience he was 17 years old in 1981 when he shipped out to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to attend Army basic training. Deer is originally from the Green Bay, Wisconsin, area. He took over the air station in June 2017 from former commanding officer, Capt. Richard S. Craig. He completed Coast Guard Officer Candidate School in 1992 and began his career flying the H-65 helicopter, but later transitioned to the C-130H fixed-wing aircraft. Deer also served a tour as commanding officer of Air Station Detroit, and was stationed at Air Station Elizabeth City from 2002-05. He is married and he and his wife have four children. Lewin reported to Air Station Elizabeth City from New Orleans, where he served as Chief of Incident Management, District 8. Speaking

Keith Smith (l-r), commander of the 5th Coast Guard District; Capt. Joseph Deer, former commanding officer of Air Station Elizabeth City, and Capt. William Lewin, new station commander, salute the colors during an air station change of command ceremony, Wednesday, June 22. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

briefly after reading aloud his new orders, Lewin turned to Deer and thanked him for his friendship and years of service. “Thank you, Joe, for your leadership and nearly 40 years of service to our great country,” he said. “You’ll be greatly missed.” Addressing air station members in attendance, Lewin pledged his full

support to assure the continued success the air station has enjoyed since it was established in 1940. “Please, you’ll expect my full support in getting what you need to continue down this path of excellence you’ve been on the past three years, in the past 80 years, at this historic air station,” he said.

continued from p. 6 Story said. Thankfully, the children’s grandmother alerted authorities after she grew concerned that the woman and the two children hadn’t returned after being gone for several hours. “A quick search was conducted of the area and we were able to locate the frightened children and the mother who were almost a mile apart,” Story said. Asked what he likes about Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, Story said he enjoys working with the different units at the base and “seeing the product that Team Coast Guard produces.” Story, who is married and has four children, said his family enjoys his assignment in Elizabeth City. “I enjoy the friendly community and especially like how this town supports Coast Guard families.

Thank you Elizabeth City!” he said. One thing people might not realize about Coast Guard service is that Coasties don’t just serve at bases in the U.S., Story said. “We routinely deploy overseas to different locations worldwide and deploy alongside other services in joint operations,” he said. “Also, some members have the opportunity to deploy and work with other countries to build relations and experience, which is a tremendous opportunity.” During his nearly 14-year career in the Coast Guard, Story has earned two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, one Commandant Letter of Commendation, four Coast Guard Good Conduct Awards, an Expert Pistol and Rifle medal, a Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

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WILSON takes over for Hartnett at ALC

C

BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

apt. Randal Hartnett acknowledged the major events that occurred during his tour as commanding officer of the Aviation Logistics Center. There were historic hurricanes, including Harvey and Maria, and the partial federal government shutdown and currently the COVID-19 pandemic. Hartnett, who was speaking to an audience seated apart because of social distancing rules, said he couldn’t believe it had been three years since he assumed command of ALC. Hartnett was speaking Tuesday, June 23, at a change of command ceremony where he was relieved by Capt. Torrence Wilson. The ALC’s ranks include both Coast Guard members and civilian workers who perform extensive, service-life extended maintenance on all Coast Guard rotor and fixed wing aircraft. Hartnett has transferred to the U.S. Secretary of Defense Executive Fellowship Program, while Wilson takes command of ALC after his previous assignment as executive assistant to Rear Adm. Nathan Moore, the assistant commandant for engineering and logistics. Moore, who also presided over the day’s ceremony, said the Coast Guard is always faced and overcomes milestone events, such as the BP Horizon oil spill, Hurricane Katrina and other such disasters. He spoke in detail of the accomplishments and challenges Hartnett faced while leading ALC. “In the last couple of years here during Randy’s tour he’s had three such milestone events,” Moore said. “The hurricane season of 2017 was obviously the biggest one of record for all of us. “The government shutdown in 2019 and of course the current COVID-19 crisis that’s created the unusual

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COASTAL VIRGINIA LIVING incommand HAMPTON ROADS Capt. Torrence Wilson (right) assumes of the Aviation Logistics Center from Capt. Randal Hartnett (left) during an ALC change of command ceremony held Tuesday, June 23.

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

HUTLEY

Capt. Tedd Hutley (right) assumes command of the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force from Capt. Mark Shepard (middle) during a change of command held at National Strike Force Coordination Center, Friday, June 19. Vice Adm. Steven Poulin (on video screen), commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area presided over the ceremony. 

takes over at NSF Coordination Center FROM STAFF REPORTS

I

n June, the U.S. Coast Guard’s lead environmental disaster response unit got a new commander. Capt. Tedd Hutley assumed command of the National Strike Force Coordination Center in a change of command held Friday, June 19. Hutley took over for Capt. Mark Shepard, who is now the Coast Guard’s Fifth District Chief of Response for search and rescue, law enforcement and environmental operations. Presiding over the change of command was Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area.

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Petty Officer 2nd Class Lara Davis/US Coast Guard

Hutley joins the Coast Guard’s Elizabeth City presence after serving since 2018 as the division chief within the Commandant’s Office of Specialized Capabilities. Prior to that position, Hutley served as commanding officer of the Atlantic Strike Team, which is based at Fort Dix, in New Jersey. Shepard was honored for outstanding meritorious service as commander since taking over the coordination in June 2017. The coordination center oversees three strike teams: The Gulf, which is based in Mobile, Alabama; the Pacific, which is based north of San Francisco, and the Atlantic team.

The National Strike Force is formed of nearly 275 active duty, civilian, reserve and auxiliary personnel. In addition to the coordination center and three strike teams, the NSF includes the Coast Guard Incident Management Assistance Team and the Public Information Assist Team. The NSF Coordination Center is located on U.S. Highway 17 Business just north of Elizabeth City and is one of seven commands that make up the Coast Guard’s local presence. The other commands are Base Elizabeth City, the HC-27J Asset Project Office, the Aviation Logistics Command, the Aviation Technical Training Command, the small boat station and the air station.

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

 Capt. Paul Brooks (left) relieves Capt. Eric Storch (right) during a change of command ceremony for the HC-27J Asset Project Office on Friday, June 26. Storch, who took command of the APO in June 2017, has retired from the Coast Guard after 25 years of service. In the middle is Rear Adm. Michael Johnston, who presided over the ceremony. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

Storch retires from APO, Brooks takes command

C

apt. Eric Storch said he realized his career objective at an early age. “I knew I wanted to go in the Coast Guard. I was committed,” said Storch, in an interview in June 2017 after taking command of the HC-27J Asset Project Office. Storch was 45 at the time of that interview, and on Friday, June 26, he retired from a 25-year career in the Coast Guard, which began with completing Office Candidate School in 1995. Also that Friday, Storch turned over the keys to the APO to new commanding officer, Capt. Paul Brooks. The change of command ceremony was held on base in the APO hangar with limited attendance, because of COVID-19 precautions. The ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook. Presiding at the ceremony was Rear Adm. Michael Johnston, the Coast Guard’s assistant commandant for acquisition and chief acquisition officer. The few guests in attendance included direct family members, as well as James Loy, a retired admiral and the

BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

Coast Guard’s 21st commandant. Loy was attending as a guest of the Storch family. In his remarks, Johnston praised Storch for his work ethic and spirituality and service to the nation, his dedication to his family and fellow man. “Eric, we’re happy to count you as part of the Coast Guard family,” the admiral said. Johnston also noted that Storch is a second-generation Coast Guardsman, as Storch’s father also spent a career in the service. Johnston next turned to Brooks and spoke of his background, which includes 3,000 flight hours in fixed-wing aircraft. Noting the accomplishments thus far of the APO, Johnston congratulated him on his new command and bid him good luck. “Capt. Brooks, you have inherited an outstanding crew and there are many challenges ahead,” Johnston said. “I am confident that the 27J APO is in good hands and you will keep the Spartans flying high.” Storch followed Johnston in addressing

the audience and spoke briefly about his family and how he grew up the son of a retired Coast Guardsman. “Family, relationships and connecting to people are important to me,” he said, turning to Johnston. “As you said, I am a second-generation Coast Guardsman. These shoulder boards I wear today were handed down to me by my father.” Storch also took time to thank his staff for their work and to thank members of his family. When he stepped from the podium, he was called before Adm. Johnston, who presented him a Legion of Merit award for meritorious service. Speaking next was Brooks, who joins APO from his previous assignment at the White House Office of National Drug Policy. “The Coast Guard is going to miss your leadership and professionalism,” he said, turning to Storch. “By the way, just so you know, you’re going to be a really, really hard act to follow. Your devotion to your crew, their respect for you and your expertise as both a pilot and a military officer are a model we should all strive to emulate.”

Storch grew up in Mount Pleasant, S.C., a small community across the Cooper River from Charleston. In 1994, he graduated from the Citadel, where he studied Spanish and pre-law criminal justice. In 1995, he graduated from Officer Candidate School when it was still based at the Coast Guard’s Yorktown, Va., base. Today OCS is located on the campus of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Storch’s first assignment out of OCS was to the Coast Guard Honor Guard in Washington. He was accepted to flight school while stationed with the Honor Guard and served as a fixed-wing C-130 pilot his entire career. His first pilot assignment was Air Station Elizabeth City, from 1998 to 2002. APO marked at least his third assignment in Elizabeth City. In 2003, Storch received the Elmer F. Stone Aviation Rescue Award, named for the Coast Guard’s first aviator. The award came while he was stationed in Kodiak, after his C-130 crew provided overhead support to an H-60 helicopter crew that was assisting with a medevac at sea. In extremely poor weather conditions, he was forced to conserve fuel by shutting down one of the plane’s engines. The patient was successfully transported to Anchorage for treatment. The APO was formed in 2014 with the purpose to “missionize” 14 HC-27J “Spartan” fixed-wing aircraft for Coast Guard use. The two-engine planes were originally purchased for use by the U.S. Air Force but were retired in 2012. Six of the modified C-27s are now in use at Air Station Sacramento, while six more were slated for Air Station Clearwater. The remaining two were to remain in “overhaul” status to establish a fleet maintenance rotation. The C-27 is basically a smaller version of the C-130 Hercules, with one noticeable difference: The C-27 has two engines, while the C-130 has four.


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Rescue swimmer Todd returns to EC as instructor

F

A

Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Todd

Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

or Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Todd, the decision to choose a career as an aviation survival technician — more commonly known as rescue swimmer —was obvious. “You work out every day, hang out with your buddies at work and get to jump out of helicopters,” said Todd. “It was a no-brainer.” Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Todd joined the Coast Guard in 2007. “I have always been interested in the military and serving my country,” Todd said. “So, the Coast Guard gave me that ability to serve and be able to save lives and not be in the position to take lives.” Todd, who is 35, attended basic training in Cape May, New Jersey, and was assigned to the Cutter Sea Otter, an 87-foot coastal patrol boat that calls San Diego home. His first tour in Elizabeth City was in 2008 when he attended AST “A” school at the Aviation Technical Training Command, one of the seven commands that form the Coast Guard’s local presence. He was next assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City, before transferring to Air Station North Bend, in Oregon. He’s been involved in many rescues and has earned several medals and

awards, including one for “exceptional bravery at sea.” In 2018, Todd was reassigned to his current post at ATTC, where he shares his knowledge and experience with aspiring AST students as a lead instructor. “I work in Phase 1, where we teach all of the fundamentals and we harp on the attention to detail aspect of school; it’s a rather intense phase,” Todd said. “As the lead, I make sure that all the students’ needs are met and oversee their first 8 weeks at school.” Todd also has a deal of influence over the training regimen and professional development courses for the AST field. “I am also the curriculum manager for the AST “A” and “C” schools,” Todd continued. “If there is any change that’s proposed from other AST instructors, I would be the guy who writes the proposal into the curriculum and sends it up the chain to be approved.” While an “A” school represents the entry level training course for all Coast Guard enlisted career ratings, “C” schools are courses members of a particular rating take later to enhance their career performance. “My work assignment here at ATTC is very fulfilling, because the accomplishments of the students,”

Todd said. “AST/Rescue Swimmer School is one of the most demanding schools in the military. Seeing the looks on the students’ faces after their final rescue scenario is priceless.” AST “A” school is not easy, to say the least, and performing at-sea rescues, which often involve an AST being hoisted down from a helicopter to a sinking ship, is dangerous work. It’s a field that boasts an esprit de corps among its members. “The people I work with,” said Todd, when asked what he likes most about serving in the Coast Guard. “The camaraderie within the rescue swimmer community is second to none in my opinion.” ATTC is home to all Coast Guard aviation enlisted training “A” schools. Every enlisted aviator in the fleet has at least served in Elizabeth City for the duration of their job training. “It’s the hub of Coast Guard aviation and almost everything rescue

swimmer,” Todd said. “A lot of history and the most rescue swimmers concentrated in one place. Lots of friends and family in that group.” As for the town itself, Elizabeth City is growing but still has a “small town feel,” Todd said. It was while assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City that Todd experienced what he said was his most significant mission while in the Coast Guard. “Back in 2012 I was stationed here at the air station as a third class. I was part of the rescue mission during Hurricane Sandy when the HMS Bounty sank off the coast of Cape Hatteras,” Todd said. “I was the second rescue swimmer in the water and I was able to rescue 9 people. “Myself and another rescue swimmer received the Distinguished Flying Cross for our actions.” The other rescue swimmer was one of Todd’s instructors when he was a student at ATTC. Other awards and medals Todd has earned include an Air Medal, three achievement medals, two Commandant’s letter of commendation ribbons, four Good Conduct awards, a USO “George Van Cleave Military Leadership”award and the International Maritime Organization’s Exceptional Bravery at Sea award.

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



DID YOU KNOW??? A few fun and interesting US Coast Guard facts The Coast Guard was founded in August 4, 1790, after Congress commissioned the construction of ten ships to help enforce federal tariffs and prevent smuggling. The Coast Guard launched its first cutter in 1791. The “Cutter” is a U.S.C.G. vessel that is 65 feet or greater in length and has a permanently assigned crew. An example of an early 1800 cutter

Christiana River Lighthouse, 1835

Anthony Christy was the oldest active serving Coast Guard member. Christy, the keeper of the Christiana Lighthouse in Delaware, died on duty in September 1862, at the age of 105. He was the oldest lighthouse keeper ever on record.

One of the lesser-known Coast Guard facts is that becoming a Coast Guard rescue swimmer is extremely difficult... having an approximate 50% attrition rate. The Coast Guard celebrated its 1000th graduate of the AST (Aviation Survival Technician) on December 20, 2019. Walt Disney created a special logo for the Coast Guard’s Corsair Fleet during World War II, featuring Donald Duck.

Sport Fact! From 1942-44, the Coast Guard had a championship hockey team called the Cutters that played in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League which was considered to be one of the most competitive leagues of its time. The league disbanded when WWII effort needed reinforcements.

The Coast Guard has served in ALL of our Nation’s wars and conflicts. Each branch of the United States Armed Forces has their own elite troop, proficient in using a sniper rifle - and the Coast Guard is no different. The Coast Guard equivalent to special operations is the Maritime Security Response Team, or MSRT. They’re the front line troops shouldering the burden of the War on Drugs.

Sinbad, a mixed breed dog that served for seven years aboard the Campbell, a Coast Guard ship that defended American conveys during World War II, is one of the most beloved American mascots. According to several articles, the pup was treated like a full member of the crew. There’s even been a book written about him!


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Those words may not be recognizable to anyone, but to each and every Coast Guard member, they represent a true hero: Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro, the service’s only Medal of Honor recipient. More than 75 years ago, those were the last words that he said before his death at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II. Ask any Coast Guardsman or Marine about Douglas Munro and they might tell you about Sept. 27, 1942, when Munro gave his life so a detachment of Marines might live. In many ways, Munro’s sacrifice is at the very core of the close relationship between the two services. All who hear Munro’s story instantly understand the bond between American brothers and sisters in arms and the true meaning of service to nation. The Coast Guardsman Who Saved Marines During WWII Munro

and

others

were

responsible for navigating landing craft full of Marines along the coast of Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.

spelled out in T-shirts on the ridge near the beach sent out a loud and clear signal to those looking on. Back at the staging area, Munro volunteered to navigate the same landing craft to rescue the Marines from enemy fire. Nearing the beach and braving incoming fire, Munro directed the landing craft to push forward, even with Japanese forces gaining ground and nearing the beach.

A month into the Guadalcanal campaign, then-Marine Lt. Col. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller embarked three companies of U.S. Marines into landing craft to take control of the western region As the Marines re-embarked of the island. on the landing craft, Munro immediately navigated his vessel Munro, only 22-years-old, took between the enemy fire and the control of 10 landing craft to move Marine forces, providing muchPuller’s men to the western coast. needed cover for the Marines. After successfully landing and With his efforts, all of the Marines, moving 500 yards inland, Munro including the wounded, were took all but one of the landing safely taken off the island. craft and returned to the staging area. At this same time, the Japanese forces began firing machine gun Just an hour after landing on rounds and Munro was struck the western coast of the island, with a single bullet. He died Marine forces were overcome by before the forces returned to the Japanese bombing raids, driving staging area. out their gunfire support. In a letter dated just five days The Marines were being driven later, the commanding officer of back to the beach and many the unit wrote to inform Munro’s did not have radios to request parents of their son’s heroism assistance. A single “HELP” and death.

“Upon regaining consciousness, his only question was ‘Did they get off?’, and so died with a smile on his face and the full knowledge that he had successfully accomplished a dangerous mission,” the letter said. A Medal of Honor Recipient Forever Honored by the Coast Guard Douglas Albert Munro (October 11, 1919 - September 27, 1942) was a United States Coast Guardsman who was posthumously decorated with the Medal of Honor for an act of “extraordinary heroism” during World War II. He is the only person to have received the medal for actions performed during service in the Coast Guard.

Article sources include - Military.org, USO.org, Legion.org. Photo source - Wikipedia

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



ANDRADA

part of USCG honor guard at Trump inauguration BY PAUL NIELSEN Staff Writer

M

Another of the Coast Guard’s Ceremonial Honor Guard’s duties is taking part in Coast Guard funerals across the country. That is something that Andrada will never forget. “That was a very humbling experience to go out and honor those people who gave their life in service to their country,” Andrada said. Andrada has always had a passion for helping people and being in the Coast Guard fuels that passion because he gets to serve the country. “The people benefit from the work we do,” he said. “Our work is directed at helping people and serving people, especially in their most dire times of need, like if their vessel is in trouble or if there is a hurricane. Our goal and mission is to go out there and help people.” As an aviation maintenance technician, Andrada works as part of a team performing maintenance on helicopters at the base. “We keep them flying and have them be ready to go out and perform missions,” Andrada said. He has also qualified to become a flight mechanic and that allows him to be part of a four-person flight crew for various kinds of missions aboard the base’s helicopters. Coast Guard operations at Base Elizabeth City vary from search-andrescue missions to law enforcement activities and that is something Andrada enjoys. “It’s a dynamic place because we provide a lot of different missions here,” Andrada said. “We are very active with the large commercial fishing fleets and large number of public boaters that are out here in the region. You never really know what you are going to be doing or what the call is going to be.” Andrada and his wife, Tiffany, and their two sons live in Elizabeth City.

Aviation Maintenance Technician Martin Andrada (second from left) and rescue swimmer Mario Estevanne (left) and Lt. Karisa Kealy (middle) pose with Robert and Mimi Reiheld, following the Coast Guard’s rescue of the couple from the Scuppernong River in June. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

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artin Andrada’s decision to give up a career as a firefighter has brought the California native within feet of two U.S. presidents, to a winter funeral in Montana, and to taking part in the rescue of two people from a sinking boat in Albemarle Sound. It’s a decision Andrada hasn’t regretted for one second. Andrada joined the U.S. Coast Guard in February 2015. Now 32, he works as an aviation maintenance technician at Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, where he’s been assigned since 2018. Andrada was a firefighter for seven years when he said he hit a “crossroads” in his life and decided it was time for a change. The military seemed like a perfect fit. “The Coast Guard’s mission of searchand-rescue and lifesaving was something that appealed to me based on my career experience,” Andrada said. Andrada’s first posting was in Washington, D.C. where he was part of the Coast Guard’s Ceremonial Honor Guard. While there, Andrada participated in official ceremonies at the White House and at other locations in the District of Columbia. “We represented the Coast Guard in providing support to the Military District of Washington,” Andrada said. Andrada came within feet of President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump while stationed in the nation’s capital. One of those assignments saw the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard participate in Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. “I thought, ‘I probably shouldn’t mess this up because every camera is probably pointed at where I am standing,” Andrada said of being close to the president.


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Small Boat Station’s Cloin pursuing dream job

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Boatswain’s Mate Victoria Cloin is shown at the controls of a boat at Small Boat Station Elizabeth City. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

FROM STAFF REPORTS

G

rowing up in Florida, Victoria Cloin saw joining the U.S. Coast Guard as her dream job. She envisioned being able to help enforce laws and save lives on the water. Now in her fourth year with the Coast Guard, the boatswain’s mate is getting a chance to do both. The 22-year-old Orlando native is currently stationed at the Small Boat Station at Base Elizabeth City. Cloin said she enjoys the assignment. “We have a large area of responsibility allowing us to always go somewhere and explore,” she said. Besides enforcing laws and treaties, Cloin said her job duties include being responsible for dispatching search and rescue assets in “a dynamic and challenging area of responsibility.” Cloin says being in the Coast Guard is a good fit for her because she enjoys both the teamwork and the sense of community. “I like being able to wake up and enjoy what I do and not make it seem like a job,” she said. “In the Coast Guard we take care of each other — whether it’s for a small thing like covering someone’s duty to be with family, or something as significant as assisting with a dire financial situation.” Cloin also enjoys being stationed in Elizabeth City. “I love the large support from the community,” she said.  Cloin said her first duty station was Sector Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California where she served as a “non-rate” from May 2017 until April 2018. The most significant mission she’s participated in recently involved the rescue of a couple and their cat from a sinking vessel. Cloin participated in the June 13 rescue of Robert and Mim Reiheld of Edenton and their cat, Spook, after their 50-foot houseboat, The Lotus Eater, started taking on water on the Scuppernong River. An Elizabeth City-based aircrew hoisted the Reihelds off the sinking houseboat while Cloin and her crewmates

ferried Spook safely to shore. “The Coast Guard rescue operation was impressively well-coordinated,” said Mimi Reiheld, describing the rescue to the Chowan Herald. “It seemed to go just as practiced, only far better. Our rescue swimmer, the helo crew, the small-boat crew that rescued a terrified cat from atop a flooded and debris-choked interior doorway, were total pros. Those eight men and women were kind, reassuring, resourceful, and above all, quietly competent. They and their shipmates truly live their words, ‘honor, respect, and devotion to duty,’ and Rob and I couldn’t be more grateful.” Cloin, who recently got engaged, said the Coast Guard provides a unique opportunity for young adults. “If you show the maturity and ambition there are no limits,” she said. Besides the National Defense Service Medal, Cloin has earned a number of other honors and awards in the Coast Guard. They include the Good Conduct Medal, Pistol Sharpshooter, Communications Watch stander, Boat Crewmember, Coxswain, Officer Of the Day and Boarding Team Member.

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

As an aviation electrical technician, Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg Hurley both works on aircraft and serves as a member of a flight crew. Whether he’s part of a crew transporting people during hurricanes or assisting with a searchand-rescue mission, Hurley said he finds his work purposeful. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard



As AET2 at air station, Hurley following in dad’s footsteps BY ANNA GOODWIN MCCARTHY Correspondent

E

ver since Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg Hurley was a young boy, he knew he wanted to make a difference in the world. He also wanted to be like his dad. Hurley fondly recalls watching his father prepare for work as an avionics electrical technician in the U.S. Coast Guard. Born in Kodiak, Alaska, Hurley would spend the majority of his youth in Camden, after his father was transferred to Base Elizabeth City. Following in his father’s footsteps Hurley joined the Coast Guard and now, at age 27, Hurley has been an avionics electrical technician since 2015. After joining the Coast Guard, Hurley attended basic training at Cape May, New Jersey. He also spent time in Maine before returning to Air Station Elizabeth City. Hurley’s duties at the air station include “troubleshooting and fixing any electrical discrepancies on aircraft,” he said. As an AET2, Hurley both works on aircraft and serves as a member of a flight crew. Whether he’s part of a crew transporting people during hurricanes or assisting with a search-and-rescue mission, Hurley said he finds his work purposeful. Hurley recalls one mission where a small plane crashed in the ocean. He was a member of an aircrew that flew to the plane’s last known position. Using a high-tech camera and radar, the crew was able to locate the plane that was still floating in the water. Because those onboard the crashed plane did not have any means of communication, Hurley’s crew made sure they were OK and then dropped them a radio and supplies. Hurley’s crew also contacted a nearby vessel, which

was able to divert to the crash site and take aboard the plane’s passengers. All people on the plane survived the crash, Hurley said. After the mission was over, the people rescued from plane took everyone from the Coast Guard involved in the rescue, including Hurley, out to dinner. Those are the kinds of experiences Hurley says he knew he wanted to have when he joined the Coast Guard. As a mission systems operator instructor, Hurley also helps instruct other members of the U.S. Coast Guard. He looks forward to his time spent training others and sharing his knowledge of aircraft components. Hurley said one of the best parts about being stationed at Base Elizabeth City is having the opportunity to take part in missions along the East Coast. For example, Hurley was able to participate in a 10-day mission in Canada with the International Ice Patrol. “We track and monitor icebergs,” he siad. The patrol’s missions help vessels using international shipping lanes avoid the dangers of striking an iceberg. Being stationed at the air station is like returning home for Hurley. Hurley said he met his wife while they were both in high school nearly a decade ago. At that time he lived in Camden and she lived in Elizabeth City with her family and her father, too, was also a member of the Coast Guard. The couple have two children — a 3-year-old and one-year-old — and currently live in Kitty Hawk. Hurley said his young son already has a uniform, and he looks forward to him continuing the family tradition by joining the Coast Guard.


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Howell: USCG provides ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities BY ANNA GOODWIN MCCARTHY Correspondent

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Operations Specialist Dustin Howell poses next to a C-130 aircraft. Howell works in communications security at Air Station Elizabeth City. It’s his job to manage the storage and distribution of classified information. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

S

erving in the U.S. Coast Guard allows you to see the world and explore the various dynamics of service, says Operations Specialist Dustin Howell. “The limits are endless when it comes to the opportunities you can have,” says Howell, who’s assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City. Howell, 30, has served as an operations specialist with the Coast Guard for more than a decade. “It has been a great 10 years,” he. Originally from Kentucky, Howell was based in Chesapeake, Virginia, prior to being assigned to Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City. Howell said one of the advantages of being stationed in Elizabeth City is watching the operation of the C-130s and being able to talk with the people who fly the aircraft. The camaraderie among service members is one of the benefits of joining the Coast Guard, according to Howell. “Everyone is looking out for each other. Everyone is pulling together for a common goal,” he said. As an operations specialist, Howell works in communications security. It’s his job to manage the storage and distribution of classified information. Howell said the best part of his job is “always finding something new to do.” “I really wear 10 different hats,” he said. Howell said one of the most gratifying parts of his job is being able to volunteer

in the community as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. Howell, along with other members of the Coast Guard, participated in a Partners-in-Education program at Weeksville Elementary School. Howell said he was able to read with students and help them practice spelling words. Howell said Coasties also had the opportunity to eat lunch at the school with the children. “The kids were responsive,” he said. “They seemed to love it.” The varying parts of his job are one of the reasons Howell enjoys his service. “We don’t just do one thing,” he said. Howell trained in California and was stationed in Florida previously. He has lived in Moyock since 2015 with his wife, Magen, and their two sons, Harrison and Brynden. Howell said he likes living in Moyock in comparison to other areas where he’s been stationed because it is beautiful and quieter. Howell said he enjoys hiking with his family and traveling to the mountains. Howell said he’s proud to wear the Coast Guard uniform and serve his country, and he likes that it’s rubbing off on his kids. He said one of his sons even asked to have his hair cut like his father’s, in a short uniform style. Howell said serving in the U.S. Coast Guard affords “once in a lifetime” opportunities, whether it is volunteering at a school in the community where you serve or participating in a mission that helps others.


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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Ricardo Santiago, an aviation mechanic with the Coast Guard’s HC-27J Asset Project Office, is part of a unit that assists areas affected during hurricanes. Pallets of food, water and supplies can be loaded via forklift into a C27 aircraft and delivered to affected areas.



At C27 office, Santiago gets to be both fixer, flyer

Photo by Kesha Williams

BY KESHA WILLIAMS Correspondent

W

hile others might wince at the idea of retooling someone else’s no-longerwanted equipment for a new purpose, Ricardo Santiago welcomes the challenge. As an aviation mechanic with the U.S. Coast Guard C27J Asset Project Office, Santiago works with a team that brings aircraft once retired by other branches of the military back to active service. Santiago, 30, said his team works to repurpose a former Air Force plane into the Coast Guard’s C27. Hence the name of the command at Base Elizabeth City where they work. The job calls for a variety of skills and allows Santiago to frequently shift roles.

“One of the coolest things about the Coast Guard is not only am I a fixer of the aircraft but also a flyer,” he said. “I sit in the back of the aircraft and assist the pilots with in flight duties. I am also a loadmaster which lets me take pallets of cargo and transport them wherever needed.” Santiago says his unit plays a vital role during hurricane operations. They deliver food, water, supplies and people, if necessary, to safety. Repeated flights into the elements for routine duty and rescue missions, particularly over the ocean, leads to another challenge: protecting the aircraft’s metal parts from corrosion. Keeping that corrosion to a minimum

is a task that keeps Santiago busy. Another of his duties is to teach Coasties new to the unit basic aircraft duties that need to be performed on both the ground and in the air. It’s a lengthy list but, Santiago assures newcomers, the rewards fit the challenges. “Once you pass the written and practical test. You become qualified and get some very cool golden wings sewn onto your uniform,” Santiago says. For Santiago, a career in the Coast Guard has been a far more satisfying than he imagined it would be when he enlisted in 2010. Santiago said he knew college wasn’t

for him so he didn’t want to saddle himself or his family with the debt of financing a college degree. He said he longed for an active, thrilling career — one, for example, that would allow him to steer a 270-foot cutter over the Atlantic Ocean. He says that very experience occurred within a month of his completing boot camp. He says his work today with aircraft demonstrates the broad range of experiences available in the Coast Guard. “Something a lot of people don’t know is that the Coast Guard lets you choose what job you want to do,” he said. “We call the jobs in our service ‘rates.’ We have a saying, ‘choose your rate, choose your fate.’ I chose to go into continued on page 29

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

Spoon enjoys service to fellow Coasties, families BY CHRIS DAY Multimedia Editor

P

etty Officer 3rd Class Evan Spoon says being part of a team that provides personnel support to the men and women of the seven Elizabeth Citybased commands is what he enjoys most about his current Coast Guard duties. “In my current assignment, I have the unique opportunity to work in support of our most outlying units, and to develop approaches to overcome the unique challenges they possess,” said Spoon, who is a yeoman assigned to Base Elizabeth City. “It is a rewarding process to serve on a talented team, as we constantly rely upon our varied experiences and knowledge to solve problems and support one another and our fellow service members.” At Base Elizabeth City, Spoon works as a servicing personnel officer and is responsible for maintaining the personnel records of more than 300 service members. The chance to serve fellow Coasties and their dependents was the main reason he chose a career as a yeoman. “I was inspired by the opportunity to provide direct personnel support that each and every service member and their families rely on every day,” he said. Base Elizabeth City is one of seven commands that make up the Coast Guard presence in Elizabeth City. The other commands are the Aircraft Project Office, the Aviation Logistics Command, the Aviation Technical Training Command, the Small Boat Station, the Air Station and the National Strike Force. The NSF is located off the main base on U.S. Highway 17 just north of town. “It is truly impressive to see the diverse and distinct missions operating out of Base Elizabeth

Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Spoon is seen at his workspace at Base Elizabeth City. Spoon is a yeoman who joined the Coast Guard in 2017. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

City, and the numerous resources and support required from within the Coast Guard and community,” said Spoon. At the broader level, it’s the many dayto-day roles that the Coast Guard fills in service to the nation that Spoon enjoys about his service. “I believe in the critical missions the Coast Guard carries out every day, and am constantly motivated by the desire to provide high quality support in my current role,” he said. “I am excited to grow my knowledge and abilities as a leader and be a positive force within the

Coast Guard into the future.” Spoon, 27, is originally from southern Wisconsin and joined the Coast Guard in 2017. He enlisted out of a “longstanding desire to serve,” he said. Prior to Elizabeth City, Spoon served at Coast Guard Station Guam, where he took part in search and rescue and other small boat operations. Spoon is the recipient of an overseas service ribbon and a meritorious team commendation medal. He said he is grateful to the Elizabeth City community for its support of the Coast Guard.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Spoon is assigned to Base Elizabeth City.

Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



Coast Guard honors Ward with Gray Award U.S. COAST GUARD

WASHINGTON — Artist John Ward has been named the winner of the 2020 George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence, the Coast Guard Art Program’s highest honor. Ward was selected for the award from among 22 artists whose 31 works are on display through Aug. 7 at COGAP’s annual exhibit at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. Ward received the juried award — the equivalent of “Best In Show” — for his acrylic painting “Rescue near Galveston.” The brightly-colored artwork depicts an Air Station Houston helicopter rescuing an oil tanker crewmember during a medical emergency and provides a look inside the helicopter during the event as it took place off the coast of Texas. Ward has worked as an artist, illustrator and high school art teacher for more than 30 years. His art has been used by more than 60 publications and his work has also been chosen by the U.S. Department of State for its “Art In Embassies” program. His work has been exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, among other places. Ward teaches and resides in Saranac Lake, New York, where he also has his studio.

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“Rescue near Galveston” was selected by a jury featuring Capt. Jason Tama, commander of Sector New York, Salmagundi Club President Elizabeth Spencer and Peter Trippi, art expert and editor-in-chief of Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. Adm. Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, congratulated and thanked Ward for his artistic contribution which he described as “remarkable.” Schultz hailed all the artists of the 2020 collection now on exhibit for their “outstanding works,” noting that because of them, “the Coast Guard has one of the best and most remarkable collections of fine art of any military service.” Schultz added that like the service itself, the Coast Guard Art Program overcame the myriad concerns and constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic to perform exceptionally well. COGAP artists — many of whom are professional artists — are volunteers who give freely of their time and talent to the art program. The current COGAP collection holds more than 2,000 artworks in a variety of media and they are often exhibited at museums around the country and displayed in the offices of members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries and other senior government officials around the world.

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

COAST GUARD POLICY PROMOTES DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

25

The Coast Guard holds a Black History Month event in Elizabeth City. The Coast Guard’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the Coast Guard workforce. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard

BY REGGIE PONDER Staff Writer

E

ven before the Black Lives Matter protests this year following the death of George Floyd, promoting diversity and inclusion was a well-established value in the U.S. Coast Guard. Admiral Karl Schultz, the 26th commandant of the Coast Guard, recently reiterated the service’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in an official policy statement. “I am fully committed to broadening the diversity of our Coast Guard workforce to be more reflective of the population we serve, and committed to fostering an environment that embraces that diversity,” he said. Lt. Cdr. Daniel Schrader, who heads public affairs for the Coast Guard’s 5th District headquarters in Portsmouth, Virginia, explained that the Coast Guard’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in the Coast Guard workforce. “A diverse workforce provides a variety of perspectives and talents that will enhance the workplace,” the Office of Diversity & Inclusion states on its website. “An inclusive work environment creates a workforce that values the individual contributions of its personnel and allows members to feel empowered. Inclusion increases innovation and strengthens teams. In order to maximize its effectiveness

and efficiency, the Coast Guard needs the best possible people to work as a team.” The Office of Diversity & Inclusion views diversity as an important component in maintaining the strength of the Coast Guard. “If individuals feel excluded, the Coast Guard loses the skills and talents of that member, which reduces the potential quality of the organization,” according to the ODI statement. “A team needs to trust and respect each other.” ODI notes loss of trust and respect is a serious matter. “This becomes especially dangerous when people notice a safety concern, but they don’t feel like they can speak up,” according to ODI. “Additionally, targeted individuals are more likely to leave the Coast Guard, which results in a loss of training, talent, and experience.” Schrader said every area of the Coast Guard, from officer and senior enlisted through reserves and auxiliary, is represented on the Commandant’s Leadership, Excellence and Diversity, or LEAD, Council. At the local level,  district commanders and commanding officers of sectors, air stations, cutters, and units with 50 or more personnel are required to establish a Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council, or LDAC.

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“LDACs are responsible for assessing the workplace climate and culture in their respective areas, developing annual action plans for how they will impact diversity and leadership in their area, addressing leadership and diversity issues that can be resolved at the unit level, and forwarding issues that cannot be handled at the unit level to the next higher LDAC,” Schrader explained. “All Coast Guard personnel are required to complete the ‘DHS No Fear Act and AntiHarassment Course’ upon initial entry and a refresher every two years,” Schrader said. “In addition, each Coast Guard member is required to complete the ‘Preventing and Addressing Workplace Harassment’ course at least annually.” Schultz’s statement on diversity and inclusion makes clear that a commitment to those values is expected of all Coast Guard personnel. “As individuals, we will identify and mitigate our biases and work to build bridges that connect us to one another,” Schultz said. “As an organization, we will identify bias and barriers within the system, policies, and procedures and take action to mitigate them. Achieving and maintaining a culture of respect begins with understanding and exhibiting inclusive behaviors that are fair, open, cooperative, supportive, and empowering.”


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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



COAST GUARD,

EC to host half marathon, 5K in 2021

T

BY MALCOLM SHIELDS Sports Editor

he U.S. Coast Guard and Visit Elizabeth City were set to host a half marathon and a five kilometer race in September. However, because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, that plan was canceled. Both entities remain committed to the event as the races are planned to be held in Elizabeth City in 2021. According to Corrina Ruffieux, executive director of Visit Elizabeth City, the event is scheduled to be held Saturday, March 6, 2021. Ruffieux added the date is subject to change because of the pandemic. The event is believed to be the first of its kind in the city and for the Coast Guard base. “We are excited to take part in establishing both a half marathon and 5K race in Elizabeth City, the Coast Guard City we at Base Elizabeth City call home,” Cmdr. Melissa Arles, executive officer of Base Elizabeth City, said in an email. “This community has shown overwhelming support for our Coast Guard men and women and helping to establish a racing event for the entire community was an important goal for both Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City and local officials. Base personnel have worked closely with event organizers to plan the race’s route, which includes runners traversing over portions of the base property.” For Visit Elizabeth City, which is the tourism agency for the city of Elizabeth City and Pasquotank County, the event is a way to bring multiple entities within the city together.

The event has the support of Arles and Capt. Randy Meador, the commanding officer at Base Elizabeth City. “This event grew out of several discussions and varying ideas between local athletes and business health enthusiasts, Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County Parks & Rec, Elizabeth City Downtown Inc., ECSU and the Coast Guard,” Ruffieux said in an email. After organizers settled on a half marathon, the next step was “establishing a thoughtful and established partnership with our local Coast Guard base and leadership,” she said. “Captain Meador, Commander Arles and quite a few other folks on base have been integral to moving the event forward,” Ruffieux said. Arles and Ruffieux said the level of interest in the event is high. “This is a great opportunity to partner with the local community and create a race series with the Coast Guard as its namesake,” Arles said. “We’re excited to help make this event happen. I’ve heard positive feedback from members and we

Map courtesy Visit Elizabeth City

are looking forward to the event.” Ruffieux noted before COVID-19’s impact started shutting most things down, there was very strong, preliminary interest in the event. Along with the races, the Coast Guard plans to be active in other aspects associated with the event. “We are helping coordinate a performance by the Coast Guard Band’s saxophone quartet on the weekend of the race,” Arles said. “All ancillary events are being coordinated with the race planning committee or Visit Elizabeth City.” According to the latest version of the course route, the half marathon — a 13.1 mile race — will begin on South Water Street between the Museum of the Albemarle and Waterfront Park and merge onto Riverside Avenue. The route is set to include Elizabeth City State University, the Coast Guard base and end downtown. The 5K is a 3.1-mile event. Ruffieux noted there may be minor tweaks to the route to ensure the race is certified by U.S. Track and Field and other entities. There is plenty of work that needs to be completed before March 6. “We paused all planning efforts when we had to make the decision to cancel the 2020 event. However, we will renew the planning process in the next month or so,” Ruffieux said. Organizers’ biggest hurdle right now is sponsors, she said. “Visit Elizabeth City provided $12,000 in seed money and Sentara (Healthcare) has committed to a $10,000 sponsorship which makes for an incredible start,” Ruffieux said. “That said, our preliminary budget estimates we need another $15,000 to $20,000 in sponsorships to ensure a high-caliber inaugural event.”


U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

27

ECSU builds on relationship with Coast Guard BY REGGIE PONDER Staff Writer

E

lizabeth City State University continues to grow its relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard by participating in the College Student PreCommissioning Initiative and developing military-friendly majors such as homeland security. This year ECSU has four students in the CSPI program, a scholarship program in which students are enlisted into the Coast Guard, complete basic training during the summer, and receive full funding for up to two years of college. There were 10 homeland security majors last year and projected enrollment for the program this year is 21. The university doesn’t actually track how many students are Coast Guard personnel since students are not required to submit their current military affiliation. But university officials have cited the needs of Coast Guard personnel and ECSU’s proximity to Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City as factors that prompted them to develop the homeland security degree program. The CSPI is a scholarship program of the Coast Guard that funds not only tuition, books, and fees, but also a full-time Coast Guard salary, housing allowance, and medical benefits. CSPI students are involved during the school year in at least 16 hours a month of Coast Guard activities. They wear a Coast Guard uniform on campus once a week and during their four hours of weekly Coast Guard

duties. The students have other opportunities to learn about Coast Guard missions and units. After completing their junior year of college, CSPI students attend Officer Candidate Indoctrination, a three-week summer leadership training course in New London, Connecticut. After graduating from college they attend the 17-week Officer Candidate School in New London. ECSU’s homeland security degree program is the first of its kind for a fouryear public institution in North Carolina and the first at a historically black college or university. The curriculum covers the role of intelligence and the impact of policy in securing the country from threats and natural disasters. The degree is designed to prepare students for careers in law enforcement, security, intelligence gathering and criminal investigations. The degree is available entirely online. Because of the online format, students could pursue the homeland security degree from anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection. University officials say that’s particularly important for Coast Guard personnel and other members of the military who are interested in earning the degree and are subject to being moved far away from ECSU’s campus.

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

29

continued from p. 29 Ricardo Santiago, an aviation mechanic with the Coast Guard’s HC-27J Asset Project Office, is part of a unit that assists areas affected during hurricanes. Pallets of food, water and supplies can be loaded via forklift into a C27 aircraft and delivered to affected areas. Photo by Kesha Williams

aviation. Though it was a long wait, it was well worth the wait.” As an aviation maintenance technician, or AMT, Santiago is responsible for the non-electrical features on Coast Guard aircraft. Besides changing engines and tires on aircraft, he also works on flight control surfaces, fuel and hydraulic pumps and even does some metal-working on an aircraft’s “skin.” A stint in Elizabeth City is common for many in the Coast Guard who choose to work in aviation, Santiago said. “This is a pretty big base for the Coast Guard. A lot happens here,” he said. Santiago first visited Elizabeth City in 2014 to learn his job as an aviation mechanic. That training followed four years of duty in Key West, Florida.

Santiago said it was while stationed in Key West that one of the most important missions of his Coast Guard career took place. He said he learned drug traffickers were hauling drugs by using submarine-like structures that don’t fully descend into the ocean. He and colleagues intercepted the traffickers and confiscated their illegal narcotics. Being able to update government officials about the changing ways illegal drugs were being transported was historic, he said. After Key West, Santiago worked for four years at his first air station in Sacramento, California, on C130 Hercules and C27 Spartan aircraft. Santiago, who was born in New York but raised in Greensboro, says he was happy to return to Elizabeth City to work and raise a family with his wife.

“This is a small town and the hospitality you get from neighbors cannot be replaced,” he said. “My family and I truly do love it here.” Santiago likes that Elizabeth City is also growing. “When I first came through here in 2014, to see where it is now is night and day,” he said. Recently, Santiago was chosen Enlisted Person of the Quarter for his unit at the air station. He received an Eagle Eye Award after finding an aircraft engine very low on oil, a measure that saved the Coast Guard from potentially having to replace the aircraft. “This is the best job I have ever had,” Santiago said. “The Coast Guard not only takes care of you very well but also your family. If you want a career that is all about saving lives and your community, join the Coast Guard.”

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020




U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020

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U.S. COAST GUARD EDITION, The Daily Advance, Friday, July 31, 2020



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