Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: BM2 Evan Ward

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Soto

Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Ward, a boatswain's mate currently serving aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, was selected as the 2015 Enlisted Person of the Year for the active component. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Soto.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Ward, a boatswain’s mate currently serving aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, was selected as the 2015 Enlisted Person of the Year for the active component. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony Soto.

The Coast Guard prides itself on the professionalism of 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 element through the enlisted person of the year program.

For 2015, the active-duty honor was awarded to Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Ward.

As a boatswain’s mate aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Valiant for nearly four years, Ward has participated in various missions and unit activities. Yet over the past year, Ward consistently undertook duties and responsibilities above his pay grade. In addition to earning qualifications as a deck watch officer, an officer of the day and a small boat operator, Ward led seven counter-drug pursuits, resulting in the seizure of five vessels, arrests of 16 smugglers, and the recovery of $116 million worth of narcotics.

During one chase, Ward pursued drug smugglers for more than 110 miles, resulting in their eventual capture. Ward also participated in migrant interdictions, one of which received international media attention, with articles being published as far away as Japan.

“One of the biggest things about being a coxswain is the safety of your crew,” Ward said. “It feels good to help prevent this material from coming in. It helps make an impact on the community by keeping people from getting affected by drugs.”

When he wasn’t chasing after smugglers, Ward helped with administrative tasks at his unit. He oversaw the maintenance of more than 700 nautical charts, which assisted in the ship’s navigation. He also participated in his unit’s leadership and diversity advisory council by organizing displays, presentations and special meals for six cultural observances. He volunteered to attend the senior bridge management course, further sharpening his rating knowledge. As the deck watch officer, Ward managed navigational operations as the ship transited through the Panama Canal more than once, including a night transit.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Ward, a boatswain’s mate stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, in Mayport, Florida, performs work aboard the Valiant bridge, March 28, 2016. Ward is the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Person of the Year for 2015 and was selected for his leadership, commitment to duty, and his numerous contributions to his shipmates while aboard the Valiant and local community. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Evan Ward, a boatswain’s mate stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, in Mayport, Florida, performs work aboard the Valiant bridge, March 28, 2016. Ward is the Coast Guard’s Enlisted Person of the Year for 2015 and was selected for his leadership, commitment to duty, and his numerous contributions to his shipmates while aboard the Valiant and local community. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Anthony L. Soto.

A native of Fernandina Beach, Ward frequently volunteers in the local community at different events. Some of the events he’s participated in include a Mayport Beach clean-up and a Special Olympics surfing competition.

“We, as Coast Guardsmen, have an obligation to step outside our normal duties and help our local communities,” Ward said.

In addition to helping his community, Ward also took time to speak to students at a school for children diagnosed with autism and other disabilities. In December 2015, Ward assisted in organizing a Toys for Tots drive aboard the Cutter Valiant as well as helped cook dinner for more than 400 homeless people at a Jacksonville shelter.

“To me, BM2 Ward is that perfect mix of the hard worker, great shipmate and ideal Coast Guard representative,” said Cmdr. Adam Chamie, commanding officer of the Cutter Valiant. “Having served with BM2 for the past two years, I know he will make a phenomenal representative for our service. I’m extremely proud of him and grateful for all his contributions to our ship and the community.”

Ward also dedicated his time during a port call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he and several of his crewmembers delivered donated toys and books to the children there.

U.S. Coast Guard image.

U.S. Coast Guard image.

“That had the biggest emotional effect on me,” Ward said. “You see how much these kids are in need. I felt humbled by the experience and grateful for what we did. That experience helped put things into perspective.”

In the spirit of giving back to his community, Ward wants to continue to serve his country. Looking toward the future, one of his career goals is to apply for, and attend, the Coast Guard’s Officer Candidate School.

“I want to be an officer because I want to seek more responsibilities, more leadership challenges and continue to make an impact in the Coast Guard,” said Ward.

From helping navigate his ship, performing administrative tasks, to pursuing smugglers, Ward has dedicated his time to his unit and his shipmates. His charity work extends to his local community as well as communities nationwide.

“I’m excited for the opportunities this recognition will provide me,” said Ward. “It is an absolute honor to be recognized, but now the true challenge begins.”

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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