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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 6, 2022

Hopley Yeaton Award winners; 2021 Coast Guard Engineer of the Year; 2020 Area Maritime Security Committee of the Year Award; Niagara Falls recovery 

By Nicole Bertrand, MyCG Writer

Hopley Yeaton Award winners named. The Douglas Munro Chapter of the Surface Navy Association (SNA) announced the recipients of the 2021 Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence and Superior Cutterman Awards. The Hopley Yeaton awards, which honor the Coast Guard’s legendary sea-going forbearer, Capt. Hopley Yeaton, are given annually to celebrate and recognize cuttermen and cutter crews who best exemplify what it means to be a top-tier Coast Guard cutterman in spirit and in action. The winners were selected from an incredibly competitive pool of nominees. The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton won the award for large cutter. The medium cutter awardee was the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, and the Coast Guard Cutter Isaac Mayo won in the small cutter category. 

While deployed in the U.S. European Command area of responsibility, the crew of Hamilton helped bolster freedom of navigation in international waters of the Black Sea, build maritime domain awareness, cooperation and partnership among other nations’ navies and coast guards. In 2021, the crew of the Resolute safely conducted the largest single-unit, at-sea migration case in more than a decade (183 migrants, including 17 children and infants). The crew of the Isaac Mayo conducted 108 at-sea boardings resulting in the disruption of 3,000 kilograms of cocaine valued at $75 million.
The award winners for Superior Cutterman were Lt.j.g. Lauren Kowalski, in the officer category, and for the enlisted side Petty Officer First Class Joseph DeVito. Kowalski completed the Coast Guard’s Afloat Icebreaker Training program and demonstrated outstanding professionalism in her role as Coast Guard liaison officer and ice pilot for three months aboard Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Protector. In her capacity as ice pilot, Kowalski led the ship to set a new Royal Navy latitude record for surface ships. She managed operations and tracklines for the nation’s only heavy icebreaker, planning and navigating the 10,000 nautical mile voyage for the Arctic Winter West 2021 deployment, through treacherous ice windrows, howling gales, and 10 days of perpetual winter darkness. DeVito went beyond the normal duties of a yeoman afloat by qualifying as an underway officer of the deck. In addition, he qualified as boat deck safety, helm and lookout, boatswain mate of the watch, quartermaster of the watch, on-scene leader for flight operations, detainee watch stander, boarding team member, and force protection officer, among other distinctions. As the vice chairperson of the cutter’s newly formed Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council, he helped organize multiple events that improved the unit’s investment in the professional and personal development of its junior officers and enlisted members. As a damage control training team member leading training for repair III, he trained more than 100 crew members.
Congratulations to all the winners. For more information, contact Lt. Luke Trautwein. To learn more, see Winner Announcement – 2021 Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence and Superior Cutterman Awards ALCOAST 464/21.

Bravo Zulu to the 2021 Coast Guard Engineer of the Year Award recipient. Timothy Meyers has been honored with the 2021 Coast Guard Engineer of the Year Award. Assigned to the Office of Design and Engineering Standards in Washington D.C., Meyers leads Coast Guard regulatory development for the most technically challenging design projects in the maritime domain. Exemplifying himself as an engineer and leader in the industry, he created the safe regulatory path for construction of the world's first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell passenger vessel. This noteworthy accomplishment led to groundbreaking advances in marine propulsion systems. In addition, as an expert in sustainable vessel design, Meyers worked with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop international shipping regulations for green technology, shaping the global maritime industry's path towards zero emission. On the domestic side, he developed the regulatory process for liquefied natural gas (LNG), lithium ion battery propulsion, and for hydrogen gas as a marine fuel. Through these efforts and many others, Meyers has made significant engineering contributions to the Coast Guard and nation. An awards ceremony is scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C., Feb. 24 to recognize the Meyers’ accomplishments. Additionally, as the Coast Guard Engineer of the Year, Meyers has also been nominated for the National Society of Professional Engineers Federal Engineer of the Year Award. Leaders are encouraged to nominate their highest performing engineering professionals. You can email Lt. Ruby Surgent or call 202-475-5553. For more information, please read Winner Announcement – 2021 Coast Guard Engineer of the Year Award ALCOAST 447/21.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) of the Year Award. The Port of New York/New Jersey and Port of Albany Area Maritime Security received the award. The award selection panel reviewed 43 AMSC annual reports and identified the Port of New York/New Jersey and Port of Albany AMSC for its exceptional achievements and contributions in safeguarding the Marine Transportation System, including port areas, adjacent waterways, coastal/shore side areas, waterfront facilities, and other critical infrastructure. Honorable Mentions went to:

  • Hawaii and American Samoa AMSC
  • Northeast Gulf of Mexico AMSC
  • Ohio Valley AMSC
  • Western Alaska AMSC

You can obtain additional information regarding the award process and other AMSC activities by contacting Dr. Robyn A. Kapperman. Please read 2020 Area Maritime Security Committee (AMSC) of the Year Award ALCOAST 458/21.

Coast Guard rescue swimmer recovers woman’s body from submerged vehicle near Niagara Falls. Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea and a helicopter rescue crew stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Detroit are to be highly commended for demonstrating exceptional courage during an 80-foot hoist 20 yards from the top of Niagara Falls, Dec. 8, 2021. They exhibited the bravery that is so characteristic of Coast Guardsmen and women. Duryea was lowered from a hovering helicopter piloted by Lt. Chris Monacelli, with an axe in hand, while grappling with falling snow and frigid water. He managed to enter the passenger’s side of the vehicle, climbed into the car and recovered a woman in her 60s. Monacelli and flight mechanic Petty Officer Second Class Jon Finnerty kept a watchful eye as ice formed on the aircraft, too much of which could have caused the helicopter to fall out of the sky.  New York State Park Police Capt. Chris Rola said in a press conference, “it was an incredible job by the Coast Guard.” Rola also noted that rescuers have never been called to a vehicle so close to the edge.