Shipmate of the Week – EM1 Matthew Payne
Posted by LT Stephanie Young, Friday, February 14, 2014
Written by Coast Guard Pacific Area.
After having gone through an extensive three year, $90 million dollar reactivation, Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is fully operational and currently deployed to McMurdo, Antarctica, for Operation Deep Freeze 2014.
Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Payne, an electrician’s mate, contributed greatly to Polar Star’s reactivation. Payne began his tour while the ship was in dry-dock and extended for a year to be a part of the cutter’s first Deep Freeze mission in seven years.
Leading up to Deep Freeze 2014, Payne led the upper electrician’s mate shop through a rigorous inport schedule. He managed several projects including the installation of an entirely new electrical shore tie and refurbishing the cutter’s robust electrical infrastructure, which expands Polar Star’s electrical shore tie capacity from 900 to 1200 amps. He spearheaded the replacement of turbine room lights, converting 13 light fixtures to LEDs in six hours, ensuring the space was safe to train in time for the ship’s tailored ship’s training availability.
Payne also demonstrated his outstanding shipboard knowledge and poise by expertly standing watch as the assistant engineer of the watch throughout engineering drills. The Afloat Training Group evaluators praised his exceptional composure, astute watch-standing and positive attitude throughout the ship’s tailored ship’s training availability training cycle.
Additionally, Payne’s technical expertise was vital towards the successful completion of Polar Star’s aviation certification as he calibrated and certified the 400HZ & 28V HELO start system and repaired numerous flight deck lights to prepare the ship for its first flight operations in eight years.
While underway for Deep Freeze, Payne has displayed his electrical expertise time and time again. He has taken an active role in training inexperienced watchstanders, sharing his shipboard knowledge. His efforts have lead to the qualification of six assistant engineers of the watch .
After a fire ignited in the switchboard in the ship’s engineering control center, Payne quickly located repair parts and spent 10 hours restoring the switchboard to full functionality. He didn’t miss a beat and immediately thereafter stood his scheduled mid-watch without hesitation.
During a port call in Sydney, Payne disassembled the upper portion of one of the ship’s main motors, and replaced one of two blower motors effecting necessary repairs so Polar Star could continue on its mission.
In his daily work, Payne upgraded the lights on board Polar Star from fluorescent light fixtures to more energy efficient blue LED bulbs taking the initiative to research and procure these lights for berthing area passageways. Working during his liberty time in Honolulu, Payne oversaw the installation of the new lighting fixtures which allow watchstanders and ship’s crew to see better at night with no loss of night vision.
A testament to his work ethic Payne sacrificed additional liberty time while in McMurdo, Antarctica, remaining aboard to repair two main diesel engine lube oil heaters, used to keep the engines warm and ready in Antarctica’s cold, harsh climate.
In his spare time Payne enjoys carpentry, a hobby which he has used to add value the unit. He worked tirelessly at home refurbishing wood rails for the engineering control center consoles, restoring them to pristine condition. Utilizing these talents even more he selflessly volunteered to complete shadowboxes for retiring crew members.
Payne attained his underway engineer of the watch qualification, a watch station normally held by E-7 and above. For these efforts, he was recently recognized as Polar Star’s Sailor of the Quarter.