Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Aidalis Mills

Aidalis Mills has been a civil servant at the 9th Coast Guard District for over 20 years. As the Coast Guard Reserve funds manager for the 9th District, Mills’ job is to execute funding associated with reserve affairs for over 450 reservists across the district. She is also the Hispanic Emphasis program manager, a member of the Leadership and Diversity Advisory Committee, a Defense Finance and Accounting Service committee member and a volunteer within the community. Her selfless service has earned her the 2018 George R. Putnam Inspirational Leadership award. Read more to find out what inspires this inspirational leader.


The Class of 2022 participates in Day One, the start of Swab Summer and the beginning of their 200-week journey to becoming an officer, July 2, 2018. Swab Summer is an intensive seven-week program, that prepares students for military and Academy life. Cadre, second class cadets in-charge of the swabs training, will lead swabs through a series of challenging tasks, events and evolutions. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Foguth.

Day One

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy renewed a longstanding tradition last week as 279 U.S. cadets and 11 international cadets took part in Day One. Class of 2022 features the largest and most diverse group of international students.


Cmdr. Zeita Merchant stands aboard a Coast Guard smallboat.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Cmdr. Zeita Merchant

Cmdr. Zeita Merchant, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Chicago, was presented with the 2017 Capt. David H. Jarvis Inspirational Leadership Award by the Navy League in Portland, Oregon, on June 7. The award was presented to the Coast Guard officer who made outstanding contributions to the high standards of leadership traditions in the Coast Guard.


Vice Adm. Michael McAllister (right), deputy commandant for mission support, and Alan Kaplan, national president of the Navy League, present Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Meister, food services officer, Sector San Francisco, with the Douglas A. Munro Award for Inspirational Leadership, during the 2018 Navy League National Caonvention held in Portland, Ore., June 8, 2018. The Douglas A. Munro Award for inspirational leadership is awarded to the Coast Guard enlisted member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and professional competence to the extent of their rank and rate. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Levi Read.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: CSC Elizabeth Meister

Chicago native, Chief Petty Officer Elizabeth Meister, a culinar specialist, is the 2018 winner of the Douglas A. Munro Award. The award, presented once a year, recognizes Coast Guard enlisted members who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and professional expertise. Meister’s commitment to others is seen not only in the galley of Sector San Francisco, but with the mentorship and leadership she provides as well as participation with the victim’s advocate and Leadership Diversity Advisory Council.


Senior Chief Petty Officer Marilyn Dufrat (center), a victim's advocate, shows off her award with her senior reserve officer, Cmdr. Maureen Kallgren.

Victims advocate receives state award

Senior Chief Petty Officer Marilyn Dufrat was awarded the Unsung Hero Award from Attorney General of Virginia Mark Herring at the attorney general’s office in Richmond, Virginia, on April 12, 2018. Dufrat has been the manager of the victim-support program for the last 16 years. Her staff offers information and services to victims and witnesses with the goal of reducing confusion during what can be a complicated, lengthy ordeal.


Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff Melitski shows off his Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year award. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: ME1 Jeff Melitski

The Coast Guard prides itself on honor, respect and devotion to duty for the men and women in its ranks. Once a year, a member of the Coast Guard is selected as the top performer in the service for the active duty and the reserve component through the enlisted person of the year program. For 2017, the Coast Guard recently selected New Jersey native Petty Officer 1st Class Jeff P. Melitski as the Coast Guard Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year.


Photo courtesy of Lt. Waymando Brown.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Lt. Waymando Brown

Lt. Waymando Brown is the 2018 Coast Guard Reserve recipient of the Capt. John G. Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award. Brown, the shore side division security officer for Coast Guard Port Security Unit 308 in Kiln, Mississippi, led his team through the difficult operations in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.


Adm. Paul Zukunft (left), President Donald Trump, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Adm. Karl Schultz render honors during a change of command ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., June 1, 2018. During the ceremony Schultz relieved Zukunft to become the 26th commandant of the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley.

U.S. Coast Guard welcomes new commandant

Adm. Karl Schultz relieved Adm. Paul F. Zukunft commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard during a military change of command ceremony held Friday, June 1, 2018, at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.


Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft looks on as Adm. Charles Ray thanks Adm. Chuck Michel for his service as the 30th vice commandant of the Coast Guard during the vice commandant change-of-watch ceremony at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 24, 2018. During the event, Ray (left) became the 31st vice commandant of the Coast Guard. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley.

U.S. Coast Guard welcomes new vice commandant

Adm. Charles W. Ray relieved Adm. Charles D. Michel as vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard by during a military change-of-watch ceremony Thursday, May 24, 2018, at U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters in D.C. A change-of-command is a time-honored ceremony that signifies the absolute transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability from one person to another.


Newly commissioned Ensigns Jacob Brown and Kurt Caminske pause for a moment following the Coast Guard Academy's 2018 Commencement ceremony at the Academy in New London, Conn., May 23, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

Future Leaders: Ensigns Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown

As regimental commanding officer and executive officer of the Coast Guard Academy Corps of Cadets, newly commissioned Ensigns Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown know what it takes to lead the future leaders of the Coast Guard. Now, after their senior year and graduation, Caminske and Brown are no longer leaders of the Class of 2018, but ensigns in the Coast Guard headed to their new units. These new officers intend to use what they learned as leaders of the Corps of Cadets to serve the Coast Guard and nation with pride and honor.


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