Coast Guard cutter Willow recognizes sailor of the quarter

NEWPORT, R.I. – The newest sailor of the quarter on the Newport-based Coast Guard Cutter Willow was recognized in front of 44 of his peers Tuesday.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Shaun Smith, of Easton, Penn., was nominated and selected by the chief petty officers aboard the cutter.

“He performs exceptionally on a daily basis,” said Chief Petty Officer David Spence, one of the chiefs who selected Smith

Smith works in the auxiliary department on the cutter and is one of the engineers responsible for all of the machinery outside of the engine room on the 225-foot buoy tender.

“This was all new to me when I came here,” Smith said, adding that his previous unit was a land-based search and rescue station in New Jersey.

When the Willow crew was preparing for a two-month dockside period at the beginning of the summer, Smith’s supervisor transferred to a new unit, leaving him to manage more than $150,000 in replacement parts for the ship. His average workday during the dockside was about 12 hours.

Performing at a pay grade two levels higher than his own during that time is what made Smith stand out from the four other people who had been nominated, Spence said.

“He constantly strives to better himself,” Spence added, noting that Smith is qualified to be an inport officer of the day and an underway engineer of the watch, titles which are usually held by first class petty officers.

Smith, who has been in the Coast Guard about six years, said that it feels great to be recognized for his hard work.

“It’s good for him and I’m proud of him,” said his wife Shannon after watching his command present him with a certificate and a plaque.

She said that although she and their two children have gotten used to him going out to sea, they still get excited when he comes home.

“The good things outweigh the bad,” she said. “He likes what he does, and that’s important.”

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