NEW ORLEANS — A local Coast Guardsman was awarded the Bronze Star, the fourth-highest combat decoration, at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Oct. 6, 2011, for his performance while training Iraqi Coastal Border Guard personnel in Iraq.
Beginning in Dec. 2010, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Draughon III, from Slidell, La., volunteered to deploy with U.S. Coast Guard Training and Advisory Team Four, operating in support of the Army’s 36th Infantry Division, at Contingency Operating Bases Basrah and Umm Qasr.
Draughon trained Iraqi Coastal Border Guard personnel in small-boat operations, and small-boat engine operations on the Shatt al-Arab River. At times, Draughon’s training team came under small arms, rocket and mortar fire. The team was escorted by soldiers from the Army’s 36th Infantry Division.
“I would definitely do it again,” said Draughon. “It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Draughon’s deployment ended in Sept. 2011.
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Cameron Naron, commodore, Coast Guard Patrol Force Southwest Asia, said the deployment was a perfect example of what the Coast Guard does best.
“It’s a perfect example of how Coast Guard training and Coast Guard personnel are often the multi-tool that is able to do things with other sectors, foreign militaries, with other agencies, and with many others,” said Naron. “That makes us such a powerful tool within the defense establishment.”
Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class George Taylor,. from Bowling Green, Ky., was also awarded the Bronze Star for his performance as part of the team responsible for training Iraqi Coastal Border Guards.