Coast Guard 5th District names its Person of the Year

Petty Officer 1st Class Robert T. Johnston was honored today as the Coast Guard 5th District Region 2014 Enlisted Person of the Year at a ceremony in Chesapeake.

Petty Officer 1st Class Robert T. Johnston was honored as the Coast Guard 5th District Region 2014 Enlisted Person of the Year at a ceremony in Chesapeake. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Petty Officer 1st Class Robert T. Johnston was honored today as the Coast Guard 5th District Region 2014 Enlisted Person of the Year at a ceremony in Chesapeake.

Johnston, who grew up in Fredericksburg, is a Maritime Enforcement Specialist assigned to the Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team in Chesapeake.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Johnston, who is known as one of the Coast Guard’s top precision marksman. “I thank my family, colleagues and command for their support and encouragement that allowed me many successes in a fulfilling career.”

USAA Military Affairs representative Joel Vargas presented Johnston with a $100 gift card and a recognition plaque.

“Out of all of our shipmates who are exceptionally dedicated, Petty Officer Johnston stands out as an effective leader both — on the job and in the community.” said Master Chief Darrick L. Dewitt, MSRT command master chief. “Petty Officer Johnston’s commitment honors our profession by exemplifying our Semper Paratus, Always Ready promise to our nation.”

Having invested 12 years in his Coast Guard reserve and active duty career, Johnston was recognized for his stellar performance on the job and also for being a positive force in the community.

As a lead MSRT instructor, trainer and mentor, he maintains full compliance for MSTR crew weapons qualifications, oversight for partner-nation counter-terrorism law enforcement training to more than 300 international participants and excelled as a subject matter expert by providing solid recommendations to Coast Guard law enforcement program managers on improved training, requirements and weapons selection.

He is also a highly qualified member of the MSRT’s precision marksman-observer team where he provides cover for his fellow boarding officers during law enforcement boardings.

Johnston’s heroic efforts in rendering medical aid and firefighting a U.S. Navy MH-60 helicopter crash in Kuwait helped first responders remove the trapped survivors from danger.

When back from his many deployments, Johnston takes time out during his off-duty hours to chauffer elderly neighbors to run errands around the community and also organizes events to donate food to the needy during the holidays.

“I’m very proud of Petty Officer Johnston, for every day he makes a difference at work and in the community,” said Capt. Sean Regan, commanding officer of the MSRT. “He truly deserves this award for internalizing the excellence inspired by our core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.”

Notably, his wife, Kelly, is also active duty Coast Guard member and serves as the MSRT’s ombudsman.

The Enlisted Person of the Year program recognizes exceptional men and women in the workforce to include junior enlisted to first class petty officers. Considered the “best and brightest” from the field, these individuals are selected by a panel of senior enlisted members who evaluate each nominee against a set of established criteria that includes performance, work ethics, military bearing, standards of conduct and a strong community service commitment.

MSRT is a Coast Guard tactical law enforcement unit based in Chesapeake. Its mission is to provide a ready alert force to conduct maritime threat response unilaterally or as part of an interagency adaptive force package.

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