The U.S. Coast Guard and its predecessor services have made contributions in nearly every U.S. conflict since the Constitution became the law of the land. Joining that long tradition of service in defense of the homeland is the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Adak.
Adak, one of six Coast Guard patrol boats in the region – part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside the United States – focuses on maritime security, infrastructure protection, military-to-military assistance and supporting exercises in the Persian Gulf, U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility.
Every member of Adak’s crew is critical to the mission, but there is only one known as “one of the hardest working people on a really hard working boat” – Petty Officer 2nd Class Jerry Engelman.
Adak has been busy the past two months with a 50 percent crew changeover. Engelman is one of the newly reported and while his time aboard Adak has been short, his performance has been impressive.
One of Engelman’s first tasks was making the cutter mission capable. He fixed multiple navigation systems failures, rebuilding one of the systems in just 24 hours.
Lt. j.g Jared Korn, Engelman’s department head, describes navigation and communications as the most important things the crew does as “the mission is constantly moving.” Engelman is the person who makes sure Adak’s navigation equipment is up and running to get the crew where they need to go safely.
“When the cutter’s main navigation system failed, he quickly dug his head into manuals and pubs to find a solution and repair the casualty,” said Petty Officer 1st Class David Neuner, an Adak crewmember. “His dedication to the cutter and his rate showed in his tireless work towards fixing the problem.”
Adak recently participated in the 2013 International Mine Countermeasure Exercise. In the largest exercise of its kind in the region, 41 nations gathered to focus on international cooperation and conduct a wide spectrum of defensive operations designed to protect international commerce and trade including mine counter-measures, maritime security operations and maritime infrastructure protection.
With the 41 nations and their various assets, it was important the respective crews could “talk” to each other. Engelman worked on a communication suite used by the coalition forces, allowing for Adak’s successful communication, and thus participation, in the exercise.
“Adak is constantly working with other Coast Guard, Department of Defense and foreign militaries on very high visibility missions where being able to coordinate is critical,” said Korn. “The communications gear that ET2 Engelman maintains is vital to ensuring that can take place.”
Engelman not only excels at his main duties, he goes the extra mile to make Adak a better place for the crew.
“ET2 Jerry Engelman’s attitude towards completing tasks is always above and beyond just average. Whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, he gives 110 percent,” said Neuner.
“I can speak from my own experience that seeing him up at all hours of the night and constantly working even on his rare days off to make things better for the ship and not just to maintain the status quo, has been an inspiration to myself to work harder,” added Korn.
As our nation celebrated its independence, Engelman and his fellow crewmembers aboard Adak stood the watch alongside coalition forces. They upheld the service’s core value of “devotion to duty” as they kept us safe and secure.