A new albatross takes flight

Seaman recruit Michael Ferreira, 1985. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Seaman recruit Michael Ferreira, 1985. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The albatross is one of the biggest birds with the longest wingspan, known for its ability to cover and endure great distances; rarely seen on land, preferring to stay out on the ocean. Like the albatross, there are a few aviators in the Coast Guard who have covered and endured great distances. One such aviator is Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Ferreira, command master chief of Coast Guard Air Station Sitka.

Ferreira was recently honored as the Coast Guard’s ninth Enlisted Ancient Albatross in a ceremony held at Air Station Cape Cod in Bourne, Mass. The recognition honors enlisted members with the earliest graduation date from “A” school with a Coast Guard aviation rating.

Ferreira enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1985 and graduated aviation electronics technician “A” school in 1986. In the 29 years since he graduated “A” school, Ferreira served on the Coast Guard’s HC-130 Hercules airplane in which he obtained more than 4,250 flight hours. His previous units included Air Stations Clearwater, Fla., Barber’s Point, Hawaii, and Miami. In 2010, he transferred to Honolulu, where he served as the 14th Coast Guard District gold badge command master chief before assuming duties at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka as command master chief in 2013.

“It is an honor and privilege to represent Coast Guard aviation enlisted men and women,” said Ferreira. “These heroes work extremely hard behind the scenes, each and every day, to ensure aircraft are mechanically ready to launch at a moment’s notice to carry out service to our nation. And when that call comes, whether it is search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, or any of our 11 statutory missions, those same mechanics or rescue swimmers are often part of the operational aircrew that carries out that very mission.”

Being an Enlisted Ancient Albatross is inspirational to many who plan to make the Coast Guard a career. Through dedication and professionalism, Ferreira’s career within the Coast Guard has been a success; however, it’s one of his personal philosophies of “earning while you learn” that he believes makes a difference.

“Take every opportunity you have to compete in the advancement process,” advised Ferreira. “With such a small organization, you must be ready to step through when the window of opportunity opens.”

Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Ferreira, wearing the original flight gear of the Coast Guard's Enlisted Ancient Albatross, stands next to Cmdr. Mark Vislay in front of a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter in Sitka, Alaska, Aug. 21, 2014. Ferreira was recently honored as the Coast Guard's ninth Enlisted Ancient Albatross and is the current command master chief of Air Station Sitka. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Ferreira, wearing the original flight gear of the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Ancient Albatross, stands next to Cmdr. Mark Vislay in front of a Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter in Sitka, Alaska, Aug. 21, 2014. Ferreira was recently honored as the Coast Guard’s ninth Enlisted Ancient Albatross and is the current command master chief of Air Station Sitka. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

While knowledge of your profession is important to maintaining proficiency and is a competitive factor in the advancement process, staying in shape is also important to being a well-rounded Coast Guardsman. Ferreira’s passion for physical fitness helps him live up to these high standards.

“I have competed on the Coast Guard Ironman Team for several years, 2005 to 2011, as well as many other sporting ventures as a Coast Guard member on the ‘All Navy’ marathon and triathlon teams,” said Ferreira.

Combined with Ferreira’s impressive Coast Guard career and accomplishments, it’s undeniable that his command is proud to work alongside him.

“The Coast Guard has a proud aviation history rich with heroic deeds of sacrifice and selfless dedication to save those in distress,” said Cmdr. Mark Vislay, commanding officer, Air Station Sitka. “The Ancient Albatross is a symbol, a lasting reminder of the aircrews who came before us and those that sacrificed their own lives trying to save others. Earning honors as the Coast Guard’s ninth Enlisted Ancient Albatross, Master Chief Ferreira exemplifies our service’s professionalism and proud aviation traditions. This well-deserved and unique recognition is a testament to his many years of dedicated service and devotion to duty. We are honored and proud to serve with him as the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Ancient Albatross and our Air Station command master chief.”

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