Vineyard’s auxiliary Coasties win best flotilla

Auxiliary group also recognizes two members for 45 years of service.

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Flotilla 11-9, the Vineyard’s U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary group, was awarded Most Outstanding Flotilla for 2017 at a ceremony at Station Menemsha Saturday. Past flotilla commander Tim Carroll accepted the award on behalf of the flotilla. The plaque was presented by Cape and Islands division commander Alden Lumbard. Lumbard later told The Times the win was “very impressive.” Out of 49 flotillas in First District, Northern region, which stretches from Maine to the Connecticut border, Flotilla 11-9 rose to the top, he said.

“That was a wonderful thing for everybody,” flotilla operations officer Wayne Iacono later said.

“They’re a very active flotilla,” Lumbard said. Lumbard noted Flotilla 11-9, like the other five flotillas in the Cape and Islands division, is embedded in a Coast Guard station, a setup found nowhere else in the nation.

Ken DeBettencourt and Jules BenDavid both received division plaques for 45 years of service to the Vineyard’s auxiliary, and as charter members of Flotilla 11-9.

“It’s an honor,” DeBettencourt said.

BenDavid used the opportunity to thank those who currently serve and have served the United States in the armed services and the auxiliary.

Reached later, BenDavid said he served in the Army on active duty from 1957 to 1959, and was recalled for the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis, but never deployed.

“We [were] ready to go, and that was called off,” he said of the Cuban Missile Crisis. BenDavid left the Army in 1963 as a staff sergeant, and joined the Island Auxiliary a decade later, brought in with Ken DeBettencourt by DeBettencourt’s father-in-law, Ed Noke, president of the Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank.

BenDavid described the auxiliarists then as old-school mariners, many of them war veterans, who imparted a lot of knowledge to him and Debettencourt.

“We made a good team together,” BenDavid said of DeBettencourt, who he described as exceptionally persistent at tasks.

A vessel examiner and former vice-commander, BenDavid said he has examined several hundred boats over his career.

“Service to my country is what I call it,” he said.

DeBettencourt also received an award for flotilla member of the year, while Brien Hefler was awarded new flotilla member of the year. Flotilla vice-commander Joe Berini received a special operations ribbon for radio watchstanding at Sail Boston. Flotilla commander Glenn Deblase, Derek Teel, past flotilla commander Tim Carroll, and David Pothier all received certificates for the completion of training or coursework.