Service to shipmates

Written by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo

Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Muro is an aviator assigned to the aviation detachment aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche. When not working on aviation, neither flying nor fixing, he explores cutter life, mingles with the crew, helps out daily, and volunteers his free time to give junior members relief. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Muro is an aviator assigned to the aviation detachment aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche. When not working on aviation, neither flying nor fixing, he explores cutter life, mingles with the crew, helps out daily, and volunteers his free time to give junior members relief. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

Coast Guard men and women have debated for centuries about what makes a successful voyage.

While the debate continues, one aviator, Petty Officer 1st Class Eric Muro, holds the answer: build relationships, help out where needed and keep a positive outlook.

Muro is an aviation maintenance technician assigned to the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, or HITRON, that specializes in airborne use of force and drug-interdiction missions.

Recently, the HITRON crew deployed aboard the Coast Guard Waesche during a counter-narcotics patrol in the Eastern Pacific.

It was aboard Waesche that Muro’s true colors shown as a leader and a shipmate.

When he wasn’t working on aviation, neither flying nor fixing, he explored cutter life. He mingled with the crew, helped out daily, and volunteered his free time to give junior members relief.

“They work pretty hard – so when I have some downtime, I think it’s important to help out and work as hard as I can,” he said.

During his stay aboard Waesche, Muro volunteered numerous times to mess cook, a job generally reserved for junior members and rarely performed by a first class petty officer.

“When it comes to helping others, I think paygrades are less important,” he said.

Additionally, almost daily, Muro helped the cooks serve meals to the crew.

“It’s a lot of work feeding 140 people – so I figured I could help serve and free up some time for the cooks.“

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot walks off the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche's flight deck and into the hangar, Jan. 27, 2015. The helicopter is operated by an elite crew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) who specialize in airborne use of force and drug-interdiction missions. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot walks off the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche’s flight deck and into the hangar, Jan. 27, 2015. The helicopter is operated by an elite crew from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) who specialize in airborne use of force and drug-interdiction missions. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

While the cutter crew is permanently assigned, Muro and his fellow aviators are not.

“I think it’s important to be as gracious as possible because this is their boat,” he said.

He said the best way to do that is to help out at every turn.But it’s not just the cutter crew he looks out for.

“He takes great care of his fellow aviators, too,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Haiduck, galley supervisor aboard Waesche.

He said if Muro knows they are out flying and are going to miss mealtime, he’ll usually come to the galley and ask them to save meals for the aircrew. It’s a simple request, but one that makes a big difference for the crew coming back from a mission.

Haiduck said it’s a two way street between the galley crew and Muro, who is in the galley almost everyday helping the cooks serve meals or wash dishes.

“After all the help he’s given us, if he has a special request, we’re more than happy to pay the favor back,” he said.

Haiduck said they would do it anyway, regardless of who asked. But with Muro, their relationship is enriched and that makes a big difference, he said.

In a word, Haiduck says Muro’s attitude fosters camaraderie.

“If you don’t have camaraderie, it’s not a good patrol,” he said.

He said shipmates like Muro have an immeasurably positive impact on the crew.

They also demonstrate great leadership, he said.

“You don’t have to be certain rank or person, or even have to ask – just help,” he said.

That’s exactly what Muro did from the beginning, until his last night aboard. As he packed his bags the next morning and readied for another patrol on a different cutter, he made his rounds back through Waesche’s galley to say goodbye.

He said in addition to building a good rapport with the crew, he hopes he left an example for them to emulate. He hopes they will reach out beyond their normal duties frequently, build relationships, and serve their shipmates.

“A lot of behavior is learned, including service to shipmates,” he said. “If people see you doing it, maybe they will catch on.”

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Luke Pinneo.

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