WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard’s senior-most leaders formally recognized the service’s top enlisted members during the 2014 Coast Guard Enlisted Persons of the Year Banquet Thursday on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, in Washington, D.C.
Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard, presided over the evening ceremony at the Bolling Club on JBAB to recognize the contributions of the following Coast Guard members:
- Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan M. Olson, the 2014 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year — Reserve Component; and
- Petty Officer 3rd Class Giacomo Terrizzi, the 2014 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year — Active-Duty Component.
Olson is a maritime enforcement specialist assigned to Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett, Wash. Terrizzi is a marine science technician assigned to Coast Guard Sector San Diego.
Terrizzi is from Manchester, N.J., and is a 2003 graduate of Manchester High School. He went on to graduate from the University of New Haven, Conn., in 2007 and enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2009. He is currently assigned to Sector San Diego as a port state control examiner and facility inspector. He also coordinates the unit’s color guard, ensuring that Coast Guard representation at local public and community events is meticulous and is conducted in accordance with Coast Guard policy and regulations. He also coaches the sector’s softball team. He graduated from UNH with a B.S. in investigative services (concentration in forensic science) with a minor in psychology. He is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in organizational leadership from Argosy University.
During 2014, Terrizzi repeatedly demonstrated extraordinary leadership qualities, resourcefulness, and perseverance. He served as the Captain of the Port of San Diego’s direct representative for 15 high-visibility marine events. While acquiring numerous certifications directly related to his position with Sector San Diego’s Waterways Management Division, Terrizzi completed certifications for both the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act, an accomplishment normally achieved by members who are more senior. Additionally, Terrizzi maintained a 4.0 GPA while enrolled in an accelerated Master’s Degree program focused on Organizational Leadership.
“It is still so surreal,” Terrizzi said. “To be selected as the 2014 Coast Guard EPOY is truly an honor because I know each member nominated was very well deserving.”
Olson grew up in Olympia, Wash., and graduated from Capital High School there in 1996. He would go on to graduate from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., in 2000. He enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve in 2010 and is currently assigned to Port Security Unit 313, where he is the lead petty officer and training officer in PSU 313’s Shoreside Security Division.
During 2014, Olson developed high-level training opportunities through the creation of key relationships with U.S. Navy personnel, resulting in the the unit’s unprecedented access to 3,000 acres of Jim Creek Naval Radio Station’s restricted areas, improving the unit’s ability to train for convoy operations and quick-deployment exercises in realistic field conditions. His leveraging of these unique resources facilitated over 5,400 additional man-hours of field training during expeditionary exercises, raising the overall proficiency of the division by qualifying numerous members in various positions. To ensure the safety of his division during these high optempo training evolutions, he attained National Registry Emergency Medical Technician certification. In March 2014, Olson responded to a deadly mudslide in his hometown of Oso, Wash., leading reconnaissance patrols and setting waypoints for what would become a portion of the grid map of the impacted area.
“Being selected as the 2014 Enlisted Person of the Year – Reserve Component is an incredible honor,” said Olson. “It is by far the most humbling experience that I have had within the Coast Guard. I am always quick to note that throughout my career I have been surrounded by incredible people. The successes that I have enjoyed would not have been possible without them.”
Olson and Terrizzi were each presented the Coast Guard Commendation Medal and received numerous gifts from sponsor organizations.
As a result of being selected as the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Persons of the Year, Olson and Terrizzi were authorized to be meritoriously advanced to the next higher paygrade. During the ceremony, Terrizzi was advanced from petty officer third class to petty officer second class, and Olson was advanced from petty officer first class to chief petty officer.
Each year, commanders from each of the Coast Guard’s nine districts select one active-duty Coast Guardsman and one Reserve Coast Guardsman from the units within their geographic boundaries and send nomination packages to the Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard. The master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard then convenes a panel to review the nine active-duty submissions and the nine reservist submissions, ultimately choosing one awardee for each component.
Pictures from the banquet can be viewed here.