Sector Anchorage, Alaska, Reserve Petty Officer named USCG 17th District 2014 Reserve Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year

Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Harwell displays a commemorative plate given awarded to him by the Armed Forces YMCA of Alaska during a ceremony honoring his nomination as the U.S. Coast Guard's 17th District 2014 Reserve Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year in Anchorage, Alaska, Feb. 13, 2014. Harwell was nominated for his role in enforcement operations at Sector Anchorage while balancing a career with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration as a fisheries agent. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Harwell displays a commemorative plate given awarded to him by the Armed Forces YMCA of Alaska during a ceremony honoring his nomination as the U.S. Coast Guard’s 17th District 2014 Reserve Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year in Anchorage, Alaska, Feb. 13, 2014. Harwell was nominated for his role in enforcement operations at Sector Anchorage while balancing a career with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration as a fisheries agent. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Shawn Eggert.

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.

Harwell’s nomination came as a result of his outstanding work with the Sector Anchorage enforcement division while balancing his career as a National Ocaeanographic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries agent.

The Coast Guard Reserve is an important resource for the Coast Guard and reserve members complement active duty personnel in a wide range of missions. During his time with Sector Anchorage, Harwell was instrumental in safety operations aboard 80 vessels during the busy summer season.

“Petty Officer Harwell’s professionalism and expertise was particularly sought after during Operation Gold Nugget in Nome, Alaska, an extended operation that spanned more than 13 days and affected 90% of the entire gold-dredging fleet,” said Lt.j.g. Victoria Swinghamer, an enforcement officer with Sector Anchorage. “As both a Coast Guard boarding team member and NOAA fisheries agent, his experience with this unique classification of vessel in 2013 was essential to the overwhelming success and positive reception of the Coast Guard in Nome for the 2014 season.”

When Harwell is not drilling at Sector Anchorage, he serves as the only NOAA Office of Law Enforcement fisheries agent for Seward, Cordova, Whittier, and Valdez. In this position of incredible responsibility, he works to protect Alaska’s living marine resources through cases such as the Individual Fishing Quota program, the observer program, marine mammal strikes, and charter and recreational halibut enforcement.

“Petty Officer Harwell exemplifies the highest levels of leadership, teamwork and competence in every facet of his life, from his Coast Guard career to his job as a NOAA fisheries agent and his commitment to serving those in need,” said Swinghamer. “He’s an embodiment of our service’s Guardian Ethos, both in and out of uniform.”

In addition to his impressive work for the Coast Guard and NOAA Fisheries, Harwell volunteers his time to his community. During 2014, he coordinated the donation more than 500 pounds of confiscated fish to the Seward Senior Center and the Alaska Seaman’s Mission. He also served as a team leader for the 2014 Seward Watershed cleanup, spent two weeks raising money for charity with the Kenai Peninsula Rowing Club during their “Idida-Row” fundraiser and he worked with a local Girl Scout Troop to decorate the Mountain Haven Assisted Living center for each holiday in 2014.

“Being selected as the D17 Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year is the highlight of my 13-year career in the Reserves,” said Harwell. “While working with the Sector Anchorage enforcement division, I have been surrounded by a crew of professionals and I owe my success to the dedication of the team I have worked with for the past two years. The support of the Sector Anchorage command has led to my team being able to accomplish every mission we have been tasked with.”

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