Scott Maccaferri retires after 21 years in the Coast Guard

Memensha Station Officer in Charge Jason Olsen speaks flanked by the Maccaferri family, Clockwise from left: Maddie, Scott, Jacob, Joey, and Talia. Sector Southeastern New England Captain Verne Gifford is at right. — Photo by Lisa Vanderhoop

Coast Guard Machinery Technician First Class Scott Maccaferri went ashore for the last time last Friday as a Coast Guardsman. Friday marked not only the beginning of Veterans Day weekend for Mr. Maccaferri but also the beginning his life as a veteran, after 21 years of distinguished service.

On a warm, sunny day about 40 friends and family assembled as guests of the Coast Guard Station Menemsha at the Chilmark Community Center at noon. Almost 30 enlisted personnel and officers in their full dress uniforms participated in the ceremony to honor Mr. Maccaferri’s service. It was a moving tribute.

Memensha Station Officer in Charge Jason Olsen presided. He said that the ceremony marked the end of a remarkable career filled with exceptional accomplishments

“Semper Paratus” (Always Ready) is the Coast Guard motto and the title of the Coast Guard song. A recording of the tune by the United States Coast Guard Band opened the ceremony as Mr. Maccaferri and the Sector Southeastern New England Captain Verne Gifford took their places at the front of the room.

A four-person color guard presented the colors, the United States flag and the flag of the Coast Guard. The Star Spangled Banner played as the coasties, as Coast Guard members are nicknamed, saluted at attention. The guests, also standing, pressed their hands to their hearts.

Captain Gifford described Mr. Maccaferri’s career, which most recently has been devoted to keeping things running at Station Menemsha, including the machinery that provides security for Island fishermen and boaters.

The commander recalled that Mr. Maccaferri has served in Alaska, in Florida for eight years, and in Boston before being assigned to the Vineyard, and that he has been instrumental in training many newcomers to the service. Captain Gifford thanked Mr. Maccaferri’s wife, Madeleine, for the support that she and their children had given her husband.

Four weeks after taking over command of the region, Captain Gifford had his first encounter with Mr. Maccaferri when the Menemsha boathouse was destroyed by fire in July 2010. A 47-foot Coast Guard boat was at the end of the pier, in front of the boathouse. Mr. Maccaferri, as the senior member at the scene, led the three members of the station who moved the boat and then helped others move boats away from the fire. He said that Mr. Maccaferri “did the right thing when quick action was required.”

“This is a dream ending to a great career,” Captain Gifford said. “We always hope that careers like Scott’s will end, landing at the right place at the right time, exactly where you want to be, finding a job that fits you to a T.” Mr. Maccaferri will continue his work with boats as a civilian fishing boat inspector under the auspices of the Coast Guard.

Mr. Maccaferri, a man of few words at least on this occasion, thanked his shipmates and family without whom, he said, he never would have made it as far as he did.

Awards and citations from the President of the United States, the Governor of Massachusetts and others listed the accomplishments of his career. The family received certificates of thanks and appreciation. In thanks, Mr. Maccaferri gave medals he had won to his children.

A poem presented at Navy and Coast Guard retirements, “The Watch,” marked this occasion. It follows, in part:

“Shipmate, the watch stands relieved

Relieved by those you have trained, guided, and lead

Shipmate, you stand relieved. We have the watch.”

“Boatswain standby to pipe the side…Shipmate’s going ashore.”

Mr. Maccaferri then got permission to go ashore.

Mr. Maccaferri will be with the Coast Guard until the end of January. He will continue to live in Vineyard Haven with his wife and three children — two boys and a girl, aged 10, 6, and 4.