Station Menemsha honored three of its Coasties Monday morning following a uniform inspection. Flotilla 11-9, the Vineyard’s Coast Guard auxiliary group, was also honored. Auxiliarists stood in formation in their dress uniforms alongside their enlisted peers as Senior Chief Justin Longval, officer in charge of Station Menemsha, and Chief Stephen White, executive officer of the station, inspected everyone individually.
Petty Officers Joel Behr and Jason Breau, who are rotating to new assignments, were each awarded the Coast Guard Achievement Medal.
Longval noted Breau’s skills in identifying and remedying a “myriad of underway engineering casualties” contributed to his award. He noted Breau logged 2,000 hours of corrective and preventive maintenance while at Station Menemsha, and 560 underway hours as a motor lifeboat engineer.
Longval further noted Behr’s exhibited “ambition and operational acumen well beyond his paygrade” and as an operations and training officer paved the way for more than 90 Coasties to receive certifications.
Both Behr and Breau were commended for coming to the aid of a disabled vessel outside Westport Harbor in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, and towing it and two people aboard to safety. Longval highlighted Breau’s
“quick action” and “calm demeanor” and Behr’s “exceptional seamanship skills” during the incident. Behr and Breau also received certificates of appreciation from Flotilla 11-9.
Both petty officers credited the support of their peers with helping them achieve the awards.
Longval announced the promotion of Petty Officer Montgomery Buffington to bosun’s mate 1st class.
Buffington’s fiancée, Teresa Tremblay, and his friend, Coast Guard veteran Matthew Peters, pinned the insignia of his new rank on his lapels.
Among others, Buffington thanked Behr and Breau for their help and guidance in advancing his rank.
Flotilla 11-9 received the Coast Guard’s Meritorious Team Commendation for outstanding boat safety education and “steadfast support” in watchstanding, among other reasons cited.
Auxiliarist Staff Officer Wayne Iacono received the commandant’s letter of commendation and associated decorations for his service to the Coast Guard through Flotilla 11-9 in watchstanding and other areas.
Flotilla 11-9 Commander Joe Berini received the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for leadership, watchstanding, and other services.
While Flotilla 11-9 has received many awards from the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Longval later told The Times, the commendations given Monday mark the first time the regular Coast Guard has decorated the flotilla.
Following the ceremony, Auxiliarist Glenn Deblase personally thanked Longval, and said he was moved by the recognition the flotilla had received.