George Gray Award winner Leendert van der Pool. Courtesy photo.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Leendert van der Pool

Each year a collection of artwork is submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard Art Program where a panel of judges selects a recipient for the George Gray Award for Artistic Excellence – in other words, they choose a “best in show.” This year’s award goes to Leendert van der Pool for his oil painting titled “Partnership.”


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.


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.


A Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat Medium circles a Coast Guard Auxiliary vessel in preparation for a side-tow demonstration during the Regatta Point Marina Nautical Association Spring Expo. Coast Guard Auxiliarists from the 7th District near Coast Guard Station Cortez routinely work with the active duty Coast Guard for training, demonstrations, and patrols. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Patti Kuhn.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guard Auxiliary

Today the Coast Guard Auxiliary celebrates its proud history of outstanding volunteer service on America’s waterways, turning 79 years young…and its members show no signs of slowing down. Auxiliarists have supported Coast Guard missions along our nation’s coasts and inland waters, with emphasis on the promotion of recreational boating safety, since June 23, 1939, when Congress authorized the formation of the Coast Guard’s “Volunteer Reserve.”


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.


U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Linda Jones. Photo courtesy of Aux. Linda Jones.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Auxiliarist Linda Jones

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Linda Jones has used her experience with her debilitating illness, career as a school teacher and those she works with to become an inspired leader earning her the recognition of the Commodore Charles S. Greanoff Inspirational Leadership award.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Lt. Cmdr. William J. Jacobs

Every year an active duty and reserve officer are recognized for their role in mentoring personnel toward their highest potential and leadership that exemplifies the Coast Guard’s core values. Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Jacobs’ selfless devotion to others resulted in his selection of this year’s active duty Capt. John G. Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award. Jacobs is recognized for not only his leadership in a professional capacity, but in his personal life too.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: SKC Brynn Simonetti

This year’s distinguished active duty recipient of the MCPO Angela M. McShan Inspirational Leadership Award is Chief Petty Officer Brynn Simonetti, who notably spearheaded the 2017 Inaugural National Capital Region Mentoring Project – a beta test program that will serve to establish a future Coast Guard-wide mentoring program.


The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Legare stands on the flight deck of the cutter next to approximately $390 million total wholesale in seized cocaine and marijuana at Port Everglades, Fla., April 24, 2018. The drugs were interdicted off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America by multiple U.S. Coast Guard cutters and Canadian Naval vessels. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Murray.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Coast Guard Cutter Legare

The U.S. Coast Guard and Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships conducted 17 separate interdictions off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America seizing approximately $390 million in cocaine and marijuana.


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