Cape Cod Coast Guard crew honored for exceptional service

by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Jorgensen

WOODS HOLE, Mass. – The commander of the First Coast Guard District awarded the crew of the Woods Hole-based Coast Guard Cutter Sanibel with a meritorious unit commendation today for exceptional service from June 2007 to July 2008.

“I thank you for all of the hard work you do and for all of the care that you put into doing your job,” said Rear Adm. Dale Gabel. “Congratulations.”

Lt. j.g. Michael Jarbeau, the Sanibel’s executive officer, accepted the award on behalf of the cutter crew.

“It feels to great to be recognized for our hard work,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Karel Mullen, the operations petty officer on the Sanibel. “It’s important for the crew to see that people notice the work we do and that we take time away from our families to get the job done.”

During the summer of 2007, the crew of the Sanibel took the cutter to Bayou La Batre, Ala., where they oversaw $275,000 in contracted maintenance work, and ensured that it was completed on schedule.

Afterward, the crew took the ship to New York and acted as the patrol commander to the United Nations General Assembly during President Bush’s address to the group, maintaining constant security for him and 120 heads of state.

Then in February 2008, the Sanibel crew quickly repaired their own broken machinery so that they could help a disabled fishing vessel that was 95 miles away. They towed the 46-foot ship for more than four and a half hours through 12-foot seas and 45-knot winds to bring the three fishermen and their boat, valued at $245,000, to safety.

Additionally, they boarded more than 70 vessels at sea to check for required safety gear and to make sure they were abiding by fishing regulations. They ended the voyage of two ships for operating under unsafe conditions and found two vessels with significant fisheries violations.

“The year flew by,” Mullen said. “We’ve had great experiences, and we’ve done diverse missions. We don’t get too bored, and we don’t get too stagnant, so we stay motivated.”

“It’s important for people to know that their service is valued by the Coast Guard,” Gabel said. “We (the district staff) wanted the crew to know that they’re doing great work, and we appreciate that.”

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