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Coast Guard Sector North Carolina has oversight of operational Coast Guard missions throughout the entire state. With a challenging environment chock full of shifting sands and shallow inlets in addition to busy waterways – a robust commercial ferry system, two major international ports and a commercial fishing fleet of more than 9,000 vessels – you could say there is a lot going on in North Carolina. To keep track of the operations are the dedicated watchstanders at the sector’s command center, including Petty Officer 2nd Class Lindsey Neumann.
Neumann is a situation unit controller in the command center. She tracks the status and location of Coast Guard assets, ensures vessels entering and leaving North Carolina ports are properly screened and issues aids to navigation discrepancies and broadcast notice to mariners. In short, she is responsible for maintaining situational awareness at the sector. In addition to the slew of responsibilities in her position, Neumann partners with the rest of the watch team to respond to search and rescue, law enforcement, pollution and marine safety incidents.
Neumann has to maintain the highest level of alertness on the job. She can go from dispatching pollution teams in one moment to monitoring a law enforcement patrol the next. Her grasp of the service’s missions is critical to getting units where they need to be and has led to mission success countless times.
“Petty Officer Neumann has developed a great understanding of the Coast Guard’s diverse missions. She is able to quickly identify the issues involved in complex cases, gather the critical information and accurately brief the appropriate personnel to respond,” said Capt. Anthony Popiel, commander of Sector North Carolina.
Nowhere was her responsiveness more critical than during Hurricane Sandy. As the situation unit controller on watch on Oct. 28, 2012, she was directly responsible for maintaining situational awareness during the investigative and early phases of response to the sinking of the HMS Bounty, a three-masted sailing vessel that sank 90 miles off the coast of Hatteras, N.C.
Her investigative abilities were instrumental in determining the gravity of the situation and what assets would be able to provide support. Working with fellow watchstanders the right assets were on scene at the right time and 14 of Bounty’s 16-person crew returned home to their loved ones.
Neumann displays attentiveness on watch but her excellence doesn’t end there. In addition to her duties in the command center, Neumann is a leader in the community. As a participant in Leadership Wilmington, a one-year, leadership and community based training program, she organized a work site for Work on Wilmington where more than 2,000 members of the community participated in 20 work sites across the city.
Neumann planned, organized and led a work project consisting of landscaping, gardening, building organic vegetable beds and painting at a local center for abused, neglected and at-risk children. A group of more than 100 volunteers, including Coast Guard members and families, spent the day making enormous improvements to the community center.
“When Petty Officer Neumann first spoke about Leadership Wilmington, her passion and determination for the project was inspiring,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Tyle. “My daughter and I spent the morning at one of the most well organized community projects I have seen and left with a real sense of accomplishment and pride in helping out in our community. I’m glad Petty Officer Neumann was persistent and would volunteer at any project she heads up in the future.”
Just like her duties in the command center, her flawless planning ensured tools and supplies were ready for the volunteers and her infectious enthusiasm kept everyone on task and working hard.
“OS2 Neumann is a leader on watch and in the community. She is involved in numerous charities around town and is able to inspire her shipmates to join with her in serving the local community,” said Popiel.
As Neumann keeps the pulse on Coast Guard operations in North Carolina and leads change in her community, she exemplifies what it means to serve both your nation and community.