Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Auxiliarist Jeffrey Pielet

Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Sondra-Kay Kneen

“Love what you’re doing. Show pride in your work and how you handle yourself. Always remember that others are watching and listening so lead by example. Even down to the simplest detail, someone will be watching, someone will be listening.” – Coast Guard Auxiliarist Jeffrey Pielet, commander of Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 12-04 in Marina Del Rey, California

Auxiliarist Jeff Pielet

Auxiliarist Jeffrey Pielet

Pielet joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary April 22, 1977, with his father, as a father-son activity.

“It was a very different Coast Guard Auxiliary then,” said Pielet. “We weren’t as involved with the active duty side as we are today.”

Since 1977, Pielet has witnessed the Auxiliary evolve and become an even more vital part of the active duty Coast Guard. Pielet has participated in different activities ranging from routine patrols on the water to creating a training and recertification program that assisted Coast Guard air stations Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento with hoist training and drop training.

Pielet was also a coxswain during 9/11. He was assigned to command an operation patrol in the Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach. Pielet and his boatcrew patrolled the Los Angeles waters that day and for several months afterward while the country braced for another possible attack.

“I still reflect to this day how our training, knowledge and experience kicked in,” said Pielet. “I took command and made the assignments just as I had practiced so many times on a patrol. It was a tension-filled night and on the outside, I lead as a leader should do, cool and focused, but honestly, inside it was the scariest night of my life! Still, we had a job to the do and the Coast Guard was depending on us to do it.”

Though times have changed since joining nearly 40 years ago, Pielet’s spirit of leadership still continues to bring success to the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

As flotilla commander, Pielet’s enthusiasm and leadership was instrumental in revamping a number of flotilla programs to attract and maintain members. He refocused the flotillas public education efforts, encouraged the flotilla to undertake shorter seminar classes, and led the flotilla in teaching courses that could be taught in a single day rather than over the course of several weeks. This process increased enrollment in the public education classes. Pielet also recruited nine new members by introducing them to the many programs the Auxiliary offers. He also promoted participation by coordinating a number of social events such as flotilla dinner meetings, summer BBQ’s, and a winter holiday party.

In an effort to bring back inactive Auxiliary members, Pielet changed the meeting format to focus on member training by partnering with local flotillas to hold joint training sessions. This introduced an added energy by having more members and improved meeting attendance. He also gave those members who were unable to attend the option to attend via internet webinars.

Pielet was requested in 2009 by the former commanding officer of then Air Station Los Angeles to develop a hoist program due to his previous hoisting experience. Pielet helped form the highly successful Division 12 Boat Helicopter/Fixed-Wing Training Team. His suggestion that the crews of the former Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles use the Auxiliary Operational Facilities to better simulate the type of civilian vessels that MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews would encounter on rescue missions proved beneficial to rescue operations.

Additionally, Pielet also developed a training curriculum and qualification sign-off workbook that allowed select Auxiliary coxswains and boat crew to qualify and participate in underway hoist missions with crewmembers from air stations Los Angeles and San Diego and managed the program that resulted in 1,185 safe hoists with zero mishaps. He also managed 100 drop missions with Air Station Sacramento.

Pielet recently received the 2016 Commodore Charles S. Greanoff Inspirational Leadership Award for his contributions to the Auxiliary.

The award recognizes the most exemplary performance by a flotilla commander during the previous calendar year. Only those flotilla commanders who demonstrated sustained, exceptional standards of proficiency and conduct, and whose appearance and bearing were consistently impeccable, are considered for nomination.

“In some respects, I never imagined when I joined that I would get to experience so many different things in the Auxiliary and with the active-duty Coast Guard,” said Pielet. “I am honored to represent every Coast Guard Auxiliarist as the 2016 Commodore Charles S. Greanoff Inspirational Leadership Award recipient.”

Pielet resides in Santa Clarita, California, but spends most of his time in the water near Marina del Rey. As an active member in the community, Pielet has organized a program that takes University of Sothern California medical students on the water to study and observe the effects of hypothermia first-hand in field conditions. He assisted with an inner city youth initiative by educating the California Center for Economic Initiatives Staff in boating safety and best risk management practices to ensure boat outings with children are safe and enjoyable.

The Inspirational Leadership Awards are sponsored by the Coast Guard’s Office of Leadership and serve to recognize those Coast Guard men and women who demonstrate proficiency in leadership and best exemplify the Coast Guard’s core values of values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.

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