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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 2, 2024

MK1 Emily Helterhoff and OS1 Leland Kimball are your 2023 Enlisted Persons of the Year

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG writer

Adm. Linda Fagan and MCPOCG Heath Jone recognizes MK1 Emily Helterhoff and OS1 Leland Kimball as the 2023 Enlisted Persons of the Year during a ceremony in Washington D.C., May 1, 2024. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Erik Villa)


Congratulations to MK1 Emily Helterhoff of CGC BERTHOLF, the Coast Guard’s 2023 Enlisted Person of the Year - Active Duty Component, and OS1 Leland Kimball of Port Security Unit 313, the Coast Guard’s 2023 Enlisted Person of the Year - Reserve Component! 

Petty officers Helterhoff and Kimball each stepped up to take on roles of greater responsibility, significantly contributing to their unit’s successes in 2023. They both selflessly invested in the professional development and individual well-being of their crews. Your EPOYs took challenging situations head-on and rose to the moment.  

As recipients of the Enlisted Person of the Year award, Helterhoff and Kimball were both meritoriously advanced to chief petty officer.

MK1 Emily Helterhoff 

As CGC BERTHOLF's Main Propulsion Lead Petty Officer, MK1 Helterhoff conducted 3,600 mission essential maintenance items, three critical safe-to-sail repairs, and procured $100,000 of supplies to guarantee operational continuity of vital equipment. She expertly stepped up to assume the duties and responsibilities of the division's Senior Chief Petty Officer position throughout a four-month Alaskan patrol.  

MK1 Helterhoff managed personnel administrative actions, oversaw plant maintenance and operation, and led junior petty officer development. As a representative of the Main Propulsion Division and Engineering Department, MK1 Helterhoff served as an invaluable on-scene subject matter expert and Engineer of the Watch (EOW) during Bertholf's drydock availability period. Moreover, her role as a teacher and mentor further enhanced the capabilities of the Engineering and Damage Control Training Teams (ETT and DCTT).  

MK1 Helterhoff played a pivotal role in the creation and execution of numerous drills, resulting in a significant number of qualifications for EOW, Basic and Advanced Damage Control, and Security and Machinery Watchstanders. MK1 Helterhoff dedicated time to promoting mental health, safety, and overall welfare among crew members. As a certified Victim Advocate and trained in crisis intervention (CISM, ASIST, and SafeTalk), MK1 Helterhoff provided invaluable support and assistance to those in need.  

OS1 Leland Kimball 

OS1 Kimball exemplified exceptional leadership and initiate while the Port Security Unit (PSU) 313 Shore Side Security Division Chief Position was vacant. Assuming the role of Lead Petty Officer, OS1 Kimball managed administrative tasks and took charge of developmental and operational aspects of the entire division, demonstrating versatility and dedication.  

OS1 Kimball was pivotal in onboarding and training two junior enlisted Operations Specialists who were new to Deployable Specialized Forces and the Coast Guard. This effort highlights OS1 Kimball's commitment to fostering the growth and development of personnel within the unit, ensuring they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in their roles. Furthermore, he led the development and delivery of critical training on the use and troubleshooting of PRC-152 handheld radios to nearly 30 members of PSU 313 Shoreside Security Division, underscoring his commitment to operational readiness and effectiveness.  

Additionally, OS1 developed and executed a communications plan for a unit-wide joint field training exercise with the King County Metro Transit Department in Puget Sound, enhancing interoperability and readiness for real-world scenarios. Moreover, OS1 Kimball's coordination with the Naval Beach Group communications division to develop and integrate a multi-band, internationally compliant communications plan in support of a DoD multinational field training exercise in the Philippines highlights OS1 Kimball's ability to operate on a global scale and adapt to diverse environments and requirements.  

Adm. Linda Fagan, Coast Guard Commandant, and Mrs. Carol Jones, CG Ombudsman at Large, celebrate with the 2023 Enlisted Persons of the Year, MK1 Emily Helterhoff and OS1 Leland Kimball, and the 2023 Wanda Allen-Yearout Ombudsman of the Year, Courtney Burgess. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)


The following Coast Guard members were nominated by their District and gave MK1 Helterhoff and OS1 Kimball strong competition as 2023 Enlisted Persons of the Year:  

  • MST1 Thomas Houston, CG Sector Boston;  
  • BM1 Scott Mellen, CG Station Point Judith;  
  • ME1 Joseph Dellamura, CG Sector Maryland NCR;  
  • MK2 Shoja Ahmad, CG Sector Maryland NCR;  
  • YN1 Melody Benitez, CG Sector Miami;  
  • GM2 Jessica Willis, CGC ISAAC MAYO;  
  • ME2 Adam Madore, CG Sector Corpus Christi;  
  • MST2 Ryan Wilbur, Marine Safety Unit Texas City;  
  • YN1 Karl Spiesman, Port Security Unit 309;  
  • SK1 Pierce Schrecengast, CG Sector Eastern Great Lakes;  
  • BM1 Chad Vacco, CG Station San Diego;  
  • BM1 Calvin Hernandez, CG Station Neah Bay; 
  • MST2 Bryan Rios, CG Sector Honolulu;  
  • IS1 Kevin Duong, CG Cryptologic Unit Hawaii;  
  • BM3 Kellan Ford, CG Station Valdez;  
  • AET1 Jason Frayne, CG Air Station Kodiak. 


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