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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Jan. 26, 2023

9 Coast Guard members received a Naval studies certificate during the inaugural graduation ceremony 

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Writer

Recently 34 graduates, including nine Coast Guard members, received their Naval Studies Certificate from the United States Naval Community College (USNCC).

Dr. Donna Duellberg, the Coast Guard’s Voluntary Education Program manager, explains why the program is significant, “Degree programs offered through NCC help the Coast Guard professionalize its enlisted force.

“These programs are designed to help our members improve operational readiness by providing a naval-relevant education curriculum. In that vein, these degree programs align with the Coast Guard’s greater intent to provide its members with the necessary support to succeed as we continue to modernize.” 

The certificate, which is a part of the Naval Community College Associate Degree programs, is awarded after completing 15 semester hours in the following classes:

  • Naval Ethics and Leadership; 
  • Modern Naval History; 
  • Naval Force Design; 
  • Civil-Military Organization and Policies; 
  • The capstone course, Introduction to Geopolitics.

Petty Officer 1st class James Butler is one of the recent graduates to receive their Naval Studies Certificate during a virtual ceremony held by the United States Naval Community College. (Photo by Alexander Gamble, United States Naval Community College public affairs officer.)Petty Officer 1st class James Butler is a certificate graduate and is pursuing an Associate of Arts (AA) in Organizational Leadership. He said that he joined the program to build his resume and be more competitive for future opportunities. However, his immediate agenda is, as he puts it, is “to remain in the Coast Guard and use this degree and the things that I learn to be a better member of the Coast Guard.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Giancarlo Farfan shares this sentiment, who also received a certificate to improve his skillset. “I think it is pretty awesome that I have learned so much andPetty Officer 1st Class Giancarlo Farfan is part of the inaugural class to have received the Naval Studies Certificate at a virtual ceremony Jan. 13. (Photo by Alexander Gamble United States Naval Community College.) also that this program has helped to build my confidence to continue my school journey,” said Farfan “I am actually going to start another program with NCC and a partner school to pursue a cyber security degree.”

Participation in this program not only helps to boost resume skills, but it increases confidence while offering the distinction of being part of a new endeavor. USNCC is the newest member of the Naval University System and its’ programming is specific to the needs of our members. The college received the mission to improve operational readiness and to maintain a warfighting advantage by educating and providing access to naval-relevant education for globally-deployed enlisted Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.

Another certificate recipient is Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lee Barrone who is on track to receive his degree in Organizational Leadership. “I want to show others it is possible to achieve an education even being on a deployable asset and being a high operations temp on a Coast Guard cutter,” said Barrone. 

Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lee Barrone recently received his Naval Studies Certificate as part of a degree program at the United States Naval Community College. (Photo by Alexander “It is an honor being a part of a program that is allowing members of enlisted ranks to further their education, and that given all the challenges of my job I am still able to accomplish my goal,” Barrone added. 

Senior Chief Petty Officer Adam Shelton, the Coast Guard’s enlisted liaison for the Naval Community College Program, summarized the strength of the program for our members and for the partnerships it affords the Coast Guard. “The Naval Community College is a groundbreaking program between the Navy and the Coast Guard that benefits both the Coast Guard and its enlisted workforce,” he said. 

“Active duty enlisted and reservist members alike can take part in service-relevant and leadership-focused education to advance their own skillsets, and also sharpen those of the Coast Guard at-large.”

If you are interested in the program, view here for upcoming enrollment opportunities.




Congratulations to all of the Coast Guard certificate recipients:

  • Master Chief Petty Officer Jameson Daniel Hannaman
  • Chief Petty Officer Nicholas G. McGowen 
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Lee Barrone
  • Petty Officer 1st Class James M. Butler
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Giancarlo Farfan
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Jose Calderon Jr.
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle C. Carter
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Ryan Cooper
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Merrill A. Magowan