Guardians of 2010: February

Each week Coast Guard Compass honors members of the Coast Guard family as “Guardian of the Week” for their devotion to duty and contributions to our service. As we close out 2010, we’re looking back over the year to celebrate the contributions of the Guardians of 2010. Today, we revisit those recognized in February 2010.

AST1 Drew Dazzo – February 5, 2010

Survivor Rudy Snel and AST1 Dazzo pose with the Star of Courage.

Jumping out of a helicopter, 150 miles offshore, during a tropical storm is all in a day’s work for Coast Guard rescue swimmer Drew Dazzo. Dazzo was awarded Canada’s Star of Courage medal for rescuing an international crew after their sailboat capsized in the turbulent waves and high winds of sub-tropical storm Andrea.

“It was like a washing machine there,” said Dazzo about the swim over to the life raft. “I asked who was hurt most, and they all pointed to a guy huddled in the middle, whose ribs we later found out were broken,” Dazzo recalled. “I got him out first, and then the rest.”

Click here to read more about Dazzo’s award winning search and rescue case.

LCDR Joe Rodriguez – February 12, 2010

Lieutenant Commander Joe Rodriguez.

Lieutenant Commander Joe Rodriguez.

Lt. Cmdr. Joe Rodriguez holds the distinction of being one of the toughest Coasties in the history of our service. In addition to being on of the Coast Guard’s first rescue swimmers, Rodriguez was the only Coast Guardsman to ever command a Marine Corps unit. Joe lost his battle with cancer back in April, but his example of duty and honor lives on as the namesake of the Deployable Operations Group‘s Tactical Operator of the Year award.

Lt. Cmdr. Rodriguez’ “quiet warrior” personality became an invaluable commodity in the post-September 11, 2001 Coast Guard. His skills were quickly tapped to develop, commission and command the east coast’s first maritime anti-terrorism unit, MSST 91102.

Click here to read more about this pioneering Coast Guardsman.

LT Jacob Katz – February 19, 2010

WASHINGTON-Lt. Jacob Katz, a reserve officer at Coast Guard Sector Guam, is presented the Reserve Officer Association Outstanding Junior Officer Award for 2009 by Rear Adm. Daniel May, Director of Reserve and Leadership, in Washington, D.C., February 9 before the official ceremony the following day. Photo courtesy of Eric Minton.

Lt. Jacob Katz, a reserve officer at Coast Guard Sector Guam, is presented the Reserve Officer Association Outstanding Junior Officer Award for 2009 by Rear Adm. Daniel May, Director of Reserve and Leadership. Photo courtesy of Eric Minton.

On the 69th anniversary of the Coast Guard Reserve Forces, it seemed appropriate to recognize Lt. Katz (USCGR) as Guardian of the Week. As the senior reserve officer for Sector Guam, Katz is responsible for ensuring his reservists are always ready to support their active duty shipmates and keep critical Coast Guard operations running.

Beyond his responsibilities as the SRO, Lt. Katz has willingly accepted additional assignments to fill mission critical roles and maintain readiness. As a qualified marine casualty investigator and inspector, Lt. Katz volunteered as the acting supervisor for Marine Safety Detachment Saipan, filling a gap between the departing and reporting supervisors. He also served as the sector’s senior investigating officer so the member could attend critical training.

Click here to read more about Katz’s contributions to the service.

LTs Hannah Bealon and Randall Black – February 26, 2010

In celebration of the diversity of our workforce, two young Lieutenants were recognized as the Coast Guard’s selectees for the 2010 Department of Defense African American History Month Recognition Award. Lts. Bealon and Black were recognized both for their contributions to the service and their work in the communities where they live.

Bealon was recognized for having worked closely with the Deployable Operations Group to assist forward deployed reservists, providing valuable insights to ease the burdens on those deployed enabling them to focus on the mission.

Black, a pilot at Air Station Sacramento, Calif., was recognized for helping save the live of a downed civilian pilot in Half Moon Bay and also for his contributions to the station as chair of its diversity council and as its civil rights officer.

Click here to read more about the accomplishments of Bealon and Black.

Congratulations to all of the Guardians of 2010! Come back tomorrow as we pay tribute to the Guardians of the Week for March 2010.