Shipmate of the Week – BM1 Eli North

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North aboard Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier in Natchez, Miss. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North aboard Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier in Natchez, Miss. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

The Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier, homeported in Natchez, Miss., follows a star with strong leadership. This northern star guides the crew of the Greenbrier towards a safer tomorrow, and safe mission execution.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North oversees his crewmembers to ensure they are safely removing buoys from the shore on the Mississippi River. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Paul Jirasek.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North oversees his crewmembers to ensure they are safely removing buoys from the shore on the Mississippi River. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Paul Jirasek.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North is the north star of the Greenbrier and has won the hearts of his crew in the one year he has spent as a deck supervisor. He ensures the safety of his crewmembers by keeping a close watch on their operations and providing proper guidance and direction. He also maintains additional responsibilities as the first lieutenant, training petty officer, weapons petty officer and participates in the morale committee.

“He is the calmest, most well tempered, best leader of his group that I have ever worked with,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Barry Wildman, a foodservice specialist on the Greenbrier.

Even after regular work hours North selflessly helps his shipmates with his multiple tradesman abilities.

“He is the best shipmate; he is the one that is working weekends with everyone. If you need a hand, he is there,” said Wildman. “Almost every weekend he is doing something with someone. Whether it’s using his truck to pick up wood or assisting someone repair their home.”

North built the unit a gazebo, made his shipmate a shed out of palettes and provided another shipmate furniture when he first came to the unit and was awaiting household goods.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North assists Seaman David Smith in placing a concrete slab on a moving ramp in Natchez. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North assists Seaman David Smith in placing a concrete slab on a moving ramp in Natchez. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.

“He cares about this boat; he cares about the crew,” said Seaman David Smith, a crewmember on the Greenbrier.

North is a vital resource to the Coast Guard and to his shipmates. His guidance ensures buoys are in their optimum position making the channel as wide and safe as possible.

Aids to navigation is dangerous work. The Greenbrier uses cranes to move heavy buoys and marking stones, which if not properly secured could hurt someone. North uses the Coast Guard’s general assessment of risk model, or GAR - a safety assessment tool that evaluates the mission danger and complexity - to keep his crew safe.

“He pays close attention to the GAR model and keeps us all in the green,” said Smith. “He makes sure everyone is hydrated and no one is fatigued.”

North is looked up to by the junior members of the Greenbrier.

“He is always willing to help, always looking to build you up and always looks out for your safety,” said Seaman David Norton, a crewmember on the Greenbrier. “I enjoy every day I come to work with him.”

As the training petty officer North teaches junior crew members how to perform their duties safely and efficiently.

North dedicates himself to the Greenbrier and its crew whether on or off duty. His presence and leadership is respected and admired. He is the Greenbrier’s North star.

Do you know a Shipmate that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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  • CAPTMAC

    I was a DC on the CGC SANGAMON before striking Boatswain Mate.Morale was at the lowest but you do what you can. Not being familiar with GAR ( ) I got crunched by a 4th class buoy and haven’t been the same since BUT…again….you do what you can.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=106000616 Andrew Klein

    GAR is Green Amber Red. It’s a risk assessment model that one uses to figure out the level of risk to safety for a given job/task. It takes into account things such as, but not limited to, weather conditions, the technical difficult of the job, personnel experience, personnel condition, etc.

    Here’s a link to a page that tells you all about GAR. I use it in the civilian sector now.