The Coast Guard announces the winners of the 2022 Deployable Specialized Forces (DSF) Awards—the inaugural year of the award.
The winners are:
1. Lt. j.g. Peter Purcell of Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) West won the CDR Joe Rodriguez Tactical Operator Award.
2. Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Bevins of Maritime Security Response Team East won the DC3 Nathan B. Bruckenthal Tactical Operator of the Year award.
3. Lt. j.g. Joshua Welsh of Atlantic Strike Team won the DSF Emergency Response Officer’s Award.
4. Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Strack of Pacific Strike Team won the DSF Emergency Response Enlisted Award.
5. Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Davis of Gulf Strike Team won the DSF Emergency Response Reserve Award.
6. Petty Officer 1st Class Salvador Macias of Maritime Safety and Security Team Los Angeles/Long Beach won the DSF Award for Outstanding Mission Support.
Cmdr. Joe Rodriguez Tactical Operator Award
The Cmdr. Joe Rodriguez Tactical Operator Award recognizes one officer for outstanding professionalism, leadership and performance resulting in significant operational success in conducting counter drug, tactical law enforcement, maritime homeland security, or national defense operations. This award is named after Cmdr. Jose “Joe” Rodriguez who became the first Hispanic commander of a tactical law enforcement team (TACLET) when he took command of TACLET South in 1996.
Lt. j.g. Peter Purcell of Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) West, in San Diego, served as the unit’s lead coordinator, liaison officer and assault force commander in support of Operation Arctic Edge 22, the nation’s largest joint forces exercise in Arctic conditions. He enabled MSRT-West to seamlessly integrate with naval special warfare units as a joint special operations task force conducting vessel board, search and seizure operations. He flawlessly planned and executed joint maritime training courses to enhance operational capabilities of partner nations in Vietnam and Fiji. His contributions brought together six law enforcement agencies, enhanced cooperation and built enduring partnerships. While deployed to the Philippines as maritime law enforcement advisor to a Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) Special Operations Task Force, he established key relationships with high-ranking members of the Philippine Maritime armed forces.
DC3 Nathan B. Bruckenthal Tactical Operator of the Year Award
The DC3 Nathan B. Bruckenthal Tactical Operator of the Year Award recognizes one enlisted member for outstanding professionalism, leadership and performance resulting in significant operational success in conducting tactical law enforcement, maritime homeland security or national defense operations. The award is named after Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal, a member of Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 403 who was killed by a vessel-borne improvised explosive device while deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2004. Bruckenthal was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Bevins of MSRT East in Chesapeake, Virginia, deployed as a member of the Advanced Interdiction Team in the U.S. Central Command area of operations. He delivered lifesaving care to five injured people after a dhow suspected of smuggling was scuttled by explosion. He adeptly triaged the wounded and administered a needle decompression intervention, saving the life of a smuggler suffocating with a bilateral tension pneumothorax. He continued his emergency medical care to all five patients, treating blast related injuries for six hours until medical evacuation occurred. He played a vital role in the boarding of a stateless dhow suspected of smuggling contraband, interdicting 40 metric tons of explosive precursor materials bound for Yemen.
Emergency Responder Awards
The DSF Emergency Response Award recognizes three members: an active-duty officer or civilian, an active duty enlisted, and a reserve member assigned to the National Strike Force (NSF) for outstanding professionalism, leadership and performance resulting in significant operational success in emergency response to man-made or natural disasters.
Lt. j.g. Joshua Welsh from the Gulf Strike Team (GST) in Mobile, Alabama, served as the NSF team lead for Catastrophic Incident Search and Rescue (CISAR) operations following Hurricane Ian, where he coordinated CISAR from three strike teams, four MSSTs, and multiple local and state agencies. He ensured safe evacuation operations which resulted in 746 civilian lives saved, 60 household pets rescued and the delivery of 10 tons of life sustaining supplies. Additionally, he conducted ten interviews with national news outlets and brought immense credit to the NSF’s CISAR mission and Coast Guard’s flood response capabilities. After the Environmental Protection Agency declared an urgent need for hazardous waste to be removed from an abandoned plating facility known as Diamond Hard Chrome site, Welsh coordinated the NSF’s response to mitigate serious health risks to the community. He quickly developed and executed detailed operations to remove 93 tons of chromium-impacted debris and 11,498 gallons of chromic acid solutions from the site.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Zachary Strack, from the Pacific Strike Team in Novato, California, served as the safety officer and deputy operations section chief for the response to the catastrophic sinking of a tribal fishing vessel. For 22 days, he monitored high-risk diving evolutions, heavy-lift salvage operations and pollution response activities, while ensuring the safety and health of 30 contractors and protection of a highly sensitive killer whale habitat. He demonstrated the Coast Guard’s weapons of mass destruction detection capabilities during the Proliferation Security Initiative Asia-Pacific Fortune Guard Exercise. As a response supervisor, he oversaw personnel logistics and operations during a seven-month long response to a 90-ft fishing vessel that ran aground in a highly sensitive national marine sanctuary.
Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Davis, from the Gulf Strike Team in Mobile, Alabama, deployed as resource unit leader in response to Hurricane Ian Sept. 28 in Fort Myers, Florida. He assisted in the development of four incident action plans and created a comprehensive personnel tracker within the Microsoft Teams environment to supplement the incident management system software and use of traditional T-Cards. He managed personnel, readiness and administrative requirements for the GST reserve deck division and improved overall operational readiness by 90%.
Award for Outstanding Mission Support
The DSF Award for Outstanding Mission Support recognizes one person who provided outstanding mission support through training, management or logistical excellence at any DSF Unit.
Petty Officer 1st Class Salvador Macias, from the Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) in Los Angeles-Long Beach, led more than 100 multi-asset engineering evolutions, executing 4,800 maintenance labor hours that enabled unit assets to complete a record 3,890 underway hours in a single year. He facilitated uninterrupted DSF pursuit operations at the southwest border by providing tireless engineering support to deployed crews from four MSSTs. His efforts resulted in the deterrence or apprehension of over 250 migrants and bolstered capacity to respond to the historic increase in illegal maritime crossings. He maintained a pool of four cutter boats as part of Pacific Area’s DSF multi-unit certification effort, establishing the model for increasing MSST access to cutter boat platforms and enabling MSST LA/LB to qualify 15 coxswains, engineers and crew to support cutter operations and paved the way for an increased DSF operational footprint for the Indo-Pacific Command.
The Office of Specialized Capabilities (CG-721) hosted the 2022 DSF Commanding Officer’s Conference April 18-20 in Leesburg, Virginia. Attendees included the commanding officers and senior enlisted leaders from the entire DSF community to include port security units (PSU), MSSTs, MSRTs, TACLETs, NSF, and the Coast Guard Incident Management Assist Team (CG-IMAT).