Commentary | July 21, 2021

Leader of the Week: Senior Chief Petty Officer Austin Hunt

By taken from MCPOCG's Facebook Page

Our Leader of the Week is Senior Chief Austin Hunt, a damage controlman assigned to the Pacific Strike Team!

Hunt is a phenomenal deck plate leader at the Strike Team and is someone who commands the utmost respect from junior and senior personnel at the unit. 

His mere presence during a training evolution, operation, meeting, exercise, etc., always makes a positive impact and sets any evolution on a good course. He also distinguished himself while serving as an assistant safety officer during the 2020 wildfire season when numerous fires in California burned over four million acres, displaced thousands of people, and resulted in 132 injuries, and 16 fatalities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued mission assignments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region IX to conduct household hazardous waste collection and disposal to protect public health and safety. In direct support of the EPA, he conducted operations in Santa Cruz and Fresno, California, supervising a task force that consisted of an EPA on scene coordinator, 10 EPA contractors, and three certified asbestos consultants. Over a 25-day period, he oversaw the removal of approximately four tons of household hazardous waste from over 90 properties. 

With a keen eye for personnel safety, he made significant changes to personal protection equipment utilization and risk mitigation actions that resulted in zero mishaps or near misses under his supervision. Additionally, he stopped operations and deemed three structures unsafe to enter, earning trust and praise from his team and from senior leadership throughout the response. His contributions directly resulted in the successful assessment and remediation of household hazardous waste at 2,644 properties as well as reconnaissance and quality control efforts at 500 properties throughout the six disaster declared counties in California.

Around the unit, he has been at the forefront of National Strike Force modernization initiatives including to roll out of CMPro. This requires the establishment/overhaul of maintenance procedure cards and the meticulous inventory of $900,000 in oil spill response equipment including 10 small boats, two tractors with trailers, six government vehicles, eight prime movers, 33 pumps, and two vessels of opportunity skimming systems. His efforts ensured the unit overcame significant obstacles from COVID-19 to prepare for and pass its first ever virtual ready for operations assessment, leading the crew through hundreds of work hours to validate capabilities via drills/exercises to certify oil spill response capabilities. He has one of the most cheerful attitudes at the unit and always seems to find a silver lining during the most arduous work periods. Lastly, he continually leverages expertise from his time in Coast Guard Recruiting to educate the crew on the Coast Guard’s broader impact in the community along with 
Coast Guard history. 

He almost always is the first one to volunteer to assist with LDAC and morale events…usually leading a task force or a key aspect of the project team to ensure the unit has fun and well attended events.

Thank you for your leadership!

Do you have someone you would like to nominate for the Leader of the Week? Email Chief Petty Officer Crystalynn Kneen. We are accepting nominations for active duty, reserve, officer, enlisted, and civilian employees for Leader of the Week.