Machinist Technician 1st Class Nathan Dlabaj was promoted to chief Friday morning at a ceremony in the Station Menemsha boathouse. His wife Janay joined their children Charlie, Christian, and Jesse, in affixing the new insignia of his rank — an anchor and shield device — on his lapels and cap.
Senior Chief Justin Longval, officer in charge at Station Menemsha, told those gathered that advancements such as Dlabaj’s have gone on in the Coast Guard since the “days of sail,” and among other things, serve to denote increased technical skill and leadership responsibilities.
“These unpretentious ceremonies are held publicly to signify to the entire crew their shipmate’s new role within our service,” Longval said.
He went on to say Dlabaj’s work at Station Menemsha had been outstanding. “Since you took over last spring, you have done an amazing job — and in my opinion, working alongside you every day — easily a job at or above the rank of a chief petty officer,” he said. “So thank you for your dedication. You formed a great department here at the station, and set a tone here that has basically been unmatched. Thank you for that.”
Chief Stephen White, executive officer of Station Menemsha and a former shipmate of Dlabaj in Honolulu, read a congratulatory letter from Master Chief Jason Vanderhaden, the highest-ranking enlisted member of the Coast Guard. In his letter, Vanderhaden advised Dlabaj to “lead by example,” to “treat everybody with dignity and respect,” and to “always speak truth to power.”
Dlabaj thanked folks for journeying to the ceremony, and thanked his family for sharing in the sacrifices necessary for him to excel.
Dlabaj said he was looking forward to continuing his work with “the best crew in the Coast Guard.”