Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Aux. Nick McManus

Written by retired U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Daniel Slyker

Official photo of Nick McManus, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, commander, Flotilla 04-01. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Official photo of Nick McManus, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, commander, Flotilla 04-01. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Nicholas “Nick” McManus, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, has been a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary since 2008 and is a decorated Coast Guard Auxiliary aviator for several lifesaving missions.

He is currently the commander of Flotilla 04-01, in the eastern region of Coast Guard District Eight and serves as the assistant district staff officer for aviation. Prior to that, he was the vice commander of Flotilla 13-03 in Sector Key West in Coast Guard District Seven.

While there are many examples of his Coast Guard leadership, one truly stands out.

Lake Cumberland is the major body of water in the Flotilla 04-01 area of responsibility, and has several marinas. One of the largest, the State Dock, had a high incident rate of vessel safety violations and accidents. This posed a threat to the well-being and safety of the boating public that needed to be addressed. When McManus became aware of the problem, he worked with local Coast Guard officials, State Dock personnel and his flotilla, implementing the Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel Safety Check (VSC) program. This resulted in over 100 rental vessels being inspected, their deficiencies corrected, and their certification as passing the VSC. While the inspection program undoubtedly makes boating on Lake Cumberland safer, the effort also mitigated many fines the Coast Guard was going to assess. This program is now recurring, and McManus continues to improve it by working with all parties concerned.

Coast Guard Aux. Nick McManus honoring veterans at a local minor league baseball game at Legends Field in Lexington, Ky. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Aux. Nick McManus honoring veterans at a local minor league baseball game at Legends Field in Lexington, Ky. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

McManus is also an exemplary representative of the Coast Guard in the local community events.

One of Nick’s passions is serving veterans of the Coast Guard and other military services by ensuring their service is remembered with honor and respect. This is most evident in his work with the Central Kentucky Veterans Committee (CKVC), located at the Camp Nelson National Cemetery.

While volunteering for CKVC, McManus became aware of a retired Coast Guard veteran, Chief Warrant Officer Gene Raden, who was honoring all Coast Guard veterans in the cemetery each Memorial Day by placing a small Coast Guard flag on their graves. McManus quickly organized his Flotilla’s support to help Raden in his honorable mission. This relationship has grown into a partnership that has led to the Flotilla’s ongoing involvement in Camp Nelson Memorial Day activities, including grave location assistance, caisson honor guard detail, and public information.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Nick McManus at Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation Safety Training at Air Training Center Mobile, Al. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Auxiliarist Nick McManus at Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation Safety Training at Air Training Center Mobile, Al. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

McManus also led the effort to enhance the Memorial Day events with fly-bys of historic and modern military aircraft. The first was a WWII era B-25 Mitchell Bomber, and more recently Blackhawk helicopters as well as C-130s from the Kentucky National Guard. In each instance it was McManus who arranged for participation by the aircraft, coordinated the details of the fly-bys with all the participating agencies, and served as the “Air Boss” – speaking by radio directly with the pilots to ensure the aircraft passed over the cemetery at the correct moments in the ceremonies.

In the last year, McManus has assumed an even greater leadership role in honoring veterans in central Kentucky, by his election as the chairman of the CKVC. At each opportunity he has created such as honoring veterans at local minor league baseball games, McManus has never failed to connect the Coast Guard and the Auxiliary with these community events. He even ensured that Auxiliary members participated and were honored as well.

McManus also arranged for Raden, and his wife, retired Chief Petty Officer Peggy Raden, to be included on the Blue Grass Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., to see the various war memorials.

If you mention “Coast Guard” in Central Kentucky, chances are someone will ask you about Nick McManus. Through his many efforts and accomplishments he represents the Coast Guard family in an outstanding fashion, and that is perhaps why on April 22, 2017, McManus received the Eighth District Eastern Region Director’s Cup Award, recognizing exemplary service to the Coast Guard, the Auxiliary, and to the community. He truly demonstrates our core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.

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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