Celebrating African-American History Month in the Coast Guard means to me that the Coast Guard acknowledges the hard work and success of the people of the African-American culture.
The history of African-Americans within the Coast Guard extends more than 130 years and spans every ocean across the globe, and that includes the Arctic and Pacific waters off the coast of Alaska. Black Coast Guard men and women have sailed the freezing seas and soared through the howling, northern skies since Alaska’s earliest days as a U.S. territory, many of them going on to leave an indelible mark on the service and strengthening the proud legacy of African-American heroes to the nation.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary has long been a valuable resource for the Coast Guard. The contributions of the volunteers who make up the Auxiliary tremendously enhance the Coast Guard’s service and, every year, members from the 17th District Coast Guard Auxiliary gather to honor the accomplishments of their own during an awards banquet in Anchorage, Alaska. At this year’s event, however, they had another reason to celebrate; the naming of a new 17th District Coast Guard Auxiliary Commodore.
Sector Anchorage, Alaska, Reserve Petty Officer named USCG 17th District 2014 Reserve Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year
The Coast Guard 17th District 2013 Reserve Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year is Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph Harwell, a Panama City, Fla., native serving as a maritime enforcement specialist at Sector Anchorage, Alaska.
The Coast Guard 17th District 2014 Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year is Petty Officer 1st Class Brent Taylor, a Louisiana native, serves as an electronics technician aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley homeported in Kodiak, Alaska.
For U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Griffith, an operations specialist with the Navy Liaison Office at Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau, Alaska, African American History Month can be summed up in one word: legacy.
African American History Month is an annual celebration in February to recognize the achievements and central role by African Americans in U.S. history. In honor of Black History month, five members of Coast Guard 17th District will be featured throughout the month. The first installment features Chief Petty Officer Spencer Wilson, a damage controlman stationed aboard Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley in Kodiak, Alaska.
SPAR regularly visits local villages in her area of responsibility to gather information on local needs and in support of Coast Guard District Seventeen’s goal of remaining connected to the communities they serve.
To volunteer your time for 40 consecutive years takes dedication. And in the realm of the Coast Guard Auxiliary this means countless hours assisting in rescues, helping at local Coast Guard units and providing life saving training and safety checks to the public.
The Coast Guard Cutter SPAR set sail Sunday, January 26, in a joint effort with Aids to Navigation Team Kodiak to rebuild Shag Rocks day beacon, a fixed aid to navigation located in Whale Pass that had been knocked over by strong winds, currents and debris. Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Emery, a boatswain’s mate, Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Stocks, a damage controlman, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Bryan Adams, an electronics technician, of ANT Kodiak sailed with the SPAR to Whale Pass in northern Kodiak to lead the rebuild. The SPAR crew supplied the transportation and additional manpower.