Coast Guard Cutter Valiant names Sailor of the Year

Southeastern Coast Guard News
NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. – The command of the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant and the Navy League St. Augustine Council honored a Miami, Fla., native for selection as the Valiant’s 2012 Sailor of the Year during a ceremony in St. Augustine April 8, 2013.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Gomez, Jr, a boatswain mate stationed aboard the Valiant, homeported at Naval Station Mayport, was honored as the unit’s Sailor of the Year and was presented with an award by the St. Augustine Navy League.

The Navy League, which hosted the ceremony at St. Johns County Library, presented Gomez with a plaque, a recognition letter from Congressman Ander Crenshaw, and a $100 cash award. He was also given a weekend in St. Augustine, including a hotel room provided by Jalaram Hotels and passes to city attractions provided by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

During 2012, Gomez demonstrated extraordinary operational proficiency at sea. During the cutter’s February- April 2012 Windward Pass Patrol, he was involved in several key decisions during the interdiction of 93 Haitian migrants off the coast of Great Inagua, Bahamas. He immediately recommended to the commanding officer a course of action to safely and effectively transfer the migrants to the Valiant without incident. During Valiant’s May-June 2012 Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South Patrol, Gomez displayed exceptional leadership during a late-night high-speed go-fast interdiction resulting in the detention of five suspected narcotics traffickers, and the recovery of 43 bales of cocaine, valued at $32.5 million. Gomez’s calm demeanor and Spanish language skills de-escalated an intense weapons drawn situation and preserved relationships with a counter drug partner nation. He also qualified this past year as an officer of the deck, a watch position normally held by more senior petty officers or junior officers on board a Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. During an unusually challenging period for the cutter crew from May to September 2012, which included rotation of senior deck department personnel; a change of command; and a cutter homeport shift from Base Miami Beach to Naval Station Mayport, Gomez demonstrated stalwart and unflappable leadership as he directed, trained, and supported junior personnel through major shipboard evolutions.

Gomez played an integral part in an inspection that resulted in the Valiant becoming the first and only cutter to earn the coveted Sumner I Kimball Award for Small Boat Readiness.

Valiant’s Sailor of the Year program recognizes exemplary crewmembers from the active enlisted work force, E-2 through E-6. These individuals are selected by a panel of senior enlisted members who evaluate each nominee based on performance, work ethic, military bearing, and standards of conduct. Members selected for this honor should be role models all Coast Guard personnel strive to emulate, reflecting a spirit of pride, professionalism, and dedication, and embodying the Coast Guard core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Gomez was selected as the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Enlisted Person of the Year for 2012 and was honored by the St. Augustine Navy League Council during a ceremony at the St. Johns County Public Library in St. Augustine, Fla., April 9, 2013. Representatives from the Navy League presented Gomez with a plaque, congratulatory letters from U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Representative Ander Crenshaw, $100, and a binder with donations from area businesses, restaurants and attractions. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Gomez was selected as the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Enlisted Person of the Year for 2012 and was honored by the St. Augustine Navy League Council during a ceremony at the St. Johns County Public Library in St. Augustine, Fla., April 9, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Gomez (center) was selected as the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Enlisted Person of the Year for 2012 and was honored by Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Sommella (left), Valiant's executive officer, Cmdr. Stephen Burdian (right), Valiant's commanding officer and Ron Powell (2nd from left) and Mike Zollar (2nd from right) of the St. Augustine Navy League Council, during a ceremony at the St. Johns County Public Library in St. Augustine, Fla., April 9, 2013. On behalf of the Navy League, Zollar presented Gomez with a plaque, congratulatory letters from U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, $100, and a binder with donations from area businesses, restaurants and attractions. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Jorge Gomez (center) was selected as the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant Enlisted Person of the Year for 2012 and was honored by Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Sommella (left), Valiant’s executive officer, Cmdr. Stephen Burdian (right), Valiant’s commanding officer and Ron Powell (2nd from left) and Mike Zollar (2nd from right) of the St. Augustine Navy League Council, during a ceremony at the St. Johns County Public Library in St. Augustine, Fla., April 9, 2013. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen)

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