I have had a long, fulfilling career supporting Coast Guard missions. I started my career in the enlisted ranks and proudly accomplished my goal of becoming an officer. When I first enlisted, I performed a variety of duties including cooking for fellow crewmembers, operating equipment in the communications center, performing law enforcement duties as a Boarding Team Member, and conducting search and rescue missions.
I have led various types of surface missions, including conducting vessel inspections, drug search and seizures, enforcing fishing laws, and patrolling US waters for illegal immigrants. My assignments included serving as the weapons and training officer, supervising the deck force and gunnery division of about 80 people aboard the USCGC DALLAS, a 378-foot cutter based in Charleston, SC.
During the period after the September 11th tragedy, I was the Commanding Officer on the USCGC CHINOOK, an 87-foot patrol boat with an eleven member crew. We worked closely with both federal and state agencies as we patrolled the waters around New York City looking for suspicious activities and securing national monuments, bridges, and federal buildings, such as the United Nations. We also had the responsibility of escorting VIPs and container ships to ensure that they reached their destination port safely.
I also led missions aboard the CHINOOK to enforce laws at sea that protected marine mammals and endangered species. In 2004, my crew and I had one of the largest illegal lobster catch seizures in Coast Guard history. On another tour of duty, we spent some time patrolling the waters of the Caribbean enforcing U.S. and international laws and treaties, including rescuing immigrants from dangerous, overcrowded conditions at sea and bringing them to a safe port, and searching for drug smugglers, which sometimes involved high speed chases.