WASHINGTON — The Coast Guard’s senior-most leaders formally recognized the service’s top enlisted members during the 2015 Coast Guard Enlisted Persons of the Year Banquet Thursday on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, in Washington, D.C.
The banquet and awards ceremony was held at the Bolling Club on JBAB to recognize the outstanding achievements of:
- Petty Officer 1st Class Wilton S. Terry, the 2015 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year — Reserve Component; and
- Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan M. Ward, the 2015 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year — Active-Duty Component.
Terry is a machinery technician assigned to Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 in Port Clinton, Ohio. Ward is a boatswain’s mateassigned to Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Mayport, Fla.
Ward is from Fernandina Beach, Fla. He graduated from Florida State University in 2010 with a bachelor of science degree in International Affairs and enlisted in the Coast Guard later in the same year. He is currently assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Valiant’s Navigation Division and has orders to report to Coast Guard Station Ponce De Leon Inlet in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., this summer.
As the lead petty officer in Cutter Valiant’s Navigation Division, he oversaw bridge operations including the maintenance of over 700 nautical charts. During 2015, he stood over 500 hours of bridge watch as the cutter’s junior-most deck watch officer, including two night transits of the Panama Canal during a Joint Inter-Agency Task Force-South patrol. As Cutter Valiant’s non-compliant vessel pursuit coxswain, Ward skillfully led seven high-risk counter-drug pursuits in 2015, including one of over 100 nautical miles. These pursuits resulted in the seizure of five go-fast vessels, recovery of 3,563 kilograms of cocaine worth $116 million, and arrest of 16 suspected drug smugglers.
Ward is also the secretary of Cutter Valiant’s Leadership and Diversity Advisory Council. He spearheaded unit participation in volunteer opportunities including the Special Olympics, Toys for Tots, a Coast Guard museum ship, and a local homeless shelter.
“It’s an absolute honor to be recognized as Enlisted Person of the Year,” Ward said during the banquet. “But, right now, as I stand here reflecting on accomplishments, there is another shipmate out in the fleet standing the watch, going above and beyond in leading others, and making an impact in their community. And, that’s what makes me excited to be part of an organization as wonderful as the United States Coast Guard.”
Terry is from Stevensville, Mich., and is a 1988 graduate of Lakeshore High School. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1988, the Army National Guard in 1998, and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve in 2000. Since then, he has spent most of his career attached to Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Terry also serves as a lieutenant at Saint Joseph City Department of Public Safety, Fire Division, in Saint Joseph, Mich.
Terry is the boat support engineer and manager of PSU 309’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Program. In 2015, Terry’s superb planning and logistical expertise facilitated the movement of 43,000 cubic feet of cargo across 19,000 miles of land, rail, air and sea in support of Exercises Patriot Sands 2015 and Combined Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore 2015, the latter of which represented the historic first ever sea-basing of a Coast Guard port security unit. Terry’s meticulous administration of the unit’s CBRN-E Program was evidenced by his ability to obtain no-cost training from Department of Defense CBRN-E courses. He is recognized as one of the subject-matter experts for Coast Guard expeditionary CBRN-E issues.
“To be chosen out of over 7,000 members of the Reserve Component is truly a great honor,” Terry said. “Having spent the majority of my 20 years of service in the Coast Guard Reserve, I know the true dedication, commitment and hard work the members of the reserve community put forth.”
“Members of the Coast Guard Reserve bring a special and unique value to the Coast Guard, bringing not only traditional Coast Guard training and skills but also all of the experiences and training from their respective civilian careers and life – invaluable experience, wisdom and abilities the Coast Guard can tap into.”
“I am very honored and proud to represent the members of the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Reserve,” he said.
Ward and Terry 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, Ward and Terry were authorized to be meritoriously advanced to the next higher paygrade. During the ceremony, Ward was advanced from petty officer second class to petty officer first class, and Terry 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.
Photos from the ceremony can be viewed on the CoastGuardNews Flickr page.