My Coast Guard

Deckplate Leader of the Week: Chief Petty Officer Derek Paulsen

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Our Deckplate Leader of the week is Chief Petty Officer Derek Paulsen, officer in charge Aids to Navigation (ATON) Team Moriches at U.S. Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound!

Chief Paulsen’s technical expertise, positive attitude and compassion for his crew is hard to match! 

When they're not out maintaining hundreds of navigational aids on the expansive waters of Long Island, his crew can often be seen playing "friendly" games of basketball and conducting ATON Olympics events that increase crew proficiency as well as build camaraderie. Paulsen garners respect from his crew and peers in the Mess, as well as his chain of command across the Sound. He truly epitomizes the mission, visio,n and guiding principles of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer!

When asked what makes a good Chief, he gave the following response:

“In my humble opinion, what makes a good Chief is someone who will speak truth to power; not be afraid of asking the tough questions, especially when it's for one of their junior members, [the] unit or even themselves. Gaining the respect and trust from the "deck plate" level is also key.

Advice to Junior Members:

“Own your actions and understand that you may be held accountable for them but it's okay and not the end of the world - so long as you learn from them. Mistakes will be made; we are only human, but it's how you move on and learn from those mistakes that will help define the leader/individual you will become. Not just in the Coast Guard, but also in life. I use my mast as a teaching moment all the time. I say, ‘I've been masted, but I didn't let it stop me and look at me now; I'm a chief in the USCG and a sitting OIC!’”

Thank you for your leadership and compassion. Having leaders like you in the Coast Guard ensures our members continue to feel valued every day.

“Own your actions and understand that you may be held accountable for them but it's okay and not the end of the world - so long as you learn from them. Mistakes will be made; we are only human, but it's how you move on and learn from those mistakes that will help define the leader/individual you will become. Not just in the Coast Guard, but also in life. I use my mast as a teaching moment all the time. I say, ‘I've been masted, but I didn't let it stop me and look at me now; I'm a chief in the USCG and a sitting OIC!’”