Coast Guard Cutter SPAR is a sea-going buoy tender that sails the waters of the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. The patrols are long, the work is hard and the days are cold. Keeping the crew motivated, not to mention their stomach’s full, is Petty Officer 1st Class Brittany Smith.
Smith is the lead food service officer aboard the cutter. Following the departure of the division leading petty officer, she assumed the duties of food service officer and has inspired each crewmember aboard with her ability to fill an unexpected leadership void and excel while doing so.
“FS1 Smith is one of the best FSs I have ever known. Every meal she prepares is of the highest quality possible,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Quintana, a health service’s technician aboard SPAR. “She is always involved in morale events, making delicious foods for the crew, and plans holidays events to make sure that every detail is absolutely to the highest standards possible.”
This was no easy task during SPAR’s recent deployment where the crew performed an array of mission sets in an extended deployment. Deftly planning ahead and employing an exceptional use of resources, she prepared SPAR’s galley for a deployment to the Bering Sea and north of the Arctic Circle; an abnormally long patrol for a seagoing buoy tender in a remote area with minimal opportunities for food service items.
While on patrol, the crew installed an experimental ice buoy in St. Paul Harbor and built four new aids to navigation towers in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. They also conducted survey operations with an attached NOAA officer in various ports in the Bering and Arctic to determine capabilities for deep draft vessel moorings. Once in the Arctic, SPAR conducted a joint exercise with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfred Laurier. With so many missions to execute, the galley crew had to remain especially flexible.
“FS1 Smith always does a great job making sure she is there for us. I feel like we never have to worry about failing because if we are struggling to put a meal out on time she will drop everything to be right beside us to help get it done to the highest quality we can put out,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Justin Kennelly, a fellow food service specialist.
Showing initiative, she established connections in Nome and coordinated for the delivery of extra rations, particularly fresh fruits and vegetables, efforts that maintained the high level of dining options for which the galley has become known.
“Overall I feel FS1 is an outstanding supervisor to have as a new food service specialist in the Coast Guard because she always knows just what to do in any situation and if there is something she is unsure about she will go that extra mile to find the answer,” said Kennelly.
As plans changed by the hour, Smith ensured delicious meals were ready whenever needed. The esprit de corps she created in the galley was critical to the morale of SPAR as she oversaw upgrades in both performance and job satisfaction within the galley.
“Petty Officer Smith is in a unique position to influence the morale of the crew on a daily basis. She inspires the junior FSs to be creative and produce a product well above expectation, paying attention to even the most minor of details. Her positive and constructive leadership shows; as a result their food is renowned, even outside the lifelines of SPAR,” said Lt. Cmdr. Michele Schallip, SPAR’s commanding officer.
Whether underway or in port, Smith remains committed to the crew and their wellbeing. It’s not just delicious meals she serves up aboard SPAR; it’s the strength and drive to achieve mission execution.