Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: MK1 Wilton ‘Butch’ Terry

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin

Petty Officer Wilton 'Butch' Terry, a reservist from Port Security 309, was recently selected as the 2015 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year for the Reserve Component. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer Wilton ‘Butch’ Terry, a reservist from Port Security 309, was recently selected as the 2015 Coast Guard Enlisted Person of the Year for the Reserve Component. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

For 75 years, Coast Guard Reserve members have served alongside the active duty force in every major conflict or crisis this nation has faced. Every year, one dedicated member of the Coast Guard Reserve is selected as the top performer through the enlisted person of the year program.

For 2015, the honor was awarded to Petty Officer 1st Class Wilton “Butch” Terry.

A machinery technician at Coast Guard Port Security Unit 309 in Port Clinton, Ohio, since 2000, Terry serves as the boat support engineer directly responsible for five enlisted personnel and more than $6 million in resources including six transportable port security boats.

Before joining the Coast Guard, Terry had joined the Navy in 1988 and the Army National Guard in 1998.

“After serving in two other branches, I wanted a smaller closer knit community where every day would be a work day,” said Terry.

“I choose the PSU because back then I was all about the excitement and adventure.”

At the PSU, Terry is the assistant mobility officer, chemical/biological/radiological/nuclear/high explosives program manager, senior instructor, respiratory protection coordinator, senior load planner, and engineering training petty officer.

Terry’s long and decorated military career includes serving in the Coast Guard as both a damage controlman and a machinery technician.

Port Security Unit 309. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Port Security Unit 309. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

He has supervised high-visibility load-out operations such as Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008, and Operation New Dawn and a Cuban security mission in 2012.

He provided logistical and mobility support for PSU 309’s load-out operation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and most recently in 2015, Exercise Patriot Sands and Combined Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore Exercise in Anmyeon Beach, Republic of South Korea.

Other high-profile operations Terry supported include two national special security events, the New York OPSAIL in 2000 and Chicago NATO Summit in 2012. He also was at Operation Southern Watch in Manama, Bahrain from 2000-2001 in response to the USS Cole bombing.

Currently Terry is working with Caterpillar on engineering a fork lift for an extended-reach mission capability.

As a lieutenant with the Saint Joseph, Michigan, Department of Public Safety, active duty military was not an option for Terry.

“I come from a military family,” said Terry. “Members of my family as far back to the Revolutionary War have served in one branch or another and in every war or conflict. My family came to the country in 1625. It is a legacy I’m proud to carry on.”

A native of Stevensville, Michigan, Terry has consistently provided local community and schools with fire safety education and demonstrations impacting five schools and 1,200 students.

In June, Terry will celebrate 20 years of military service, but he says that retirement is not on the horizon.

Petty Officer 1st Class Wilton 'Butch' Terry, a reservist with Port Security Unit 309. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Petty Officer 1st Class Wilton ‘Butch’ Terry, a reservist with Port Security Unit 309. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

“I plan on doing 30 years or more, if they let me,” Terry said.

The married father of four says that it’s the people that keep him in the Coast Guard.

“I have truly been blessed to serve with some of the greatest men and women I have ever had the honor of knowing,” said Terry.

“I know without a doubt that I would not have any accomplishments had it not been for the great dedicated and professional Coasties I work alongside.”

The Coast Guard depends on the Reserve force to be always ready to mobilize with critical competencies in boat operations, contingency planning and response, expeditionary warfare, marine safety, port security, law enforcement and mission support.

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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