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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Coast Guard Announces Recipients of Inaugural Excellence in Customer Service Awards

Awardees provided responsive mission support, resulting in operational success as the Service faced significant challenges.

VADM Paul F. Thomas, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, today announced the winners of the U.S. Coast Guard’s inaugural Excellence in Customer Service Awards.

Congratulations to the following award recipients, organized by category:

Large Unit: Base Galveston. Base Galveston provided outstanding support to more than 1,600 Coast Guard personnel and their families displaced due to the catastrophic impacts of Hurricane IDA. The staff developed innovative tools, systems, and processes to account for and support displaced Coast Guard members and their families, in addition to facilitating the procurement and delivery of supplies and services. These creative solutions (e.g., the Family Assessment Support Tool, FAST Reports, and the Offline Procurement System) have been so successful that they are being integrated and used across the Coast Guard.

Small Unit: In-Service Vessel Sustainment Project Resident Office Baltimore (ISVS Baltimore). ISVS Baltimore provided top-notch customer service while conducting Major Maintenance Availabilities on 225′ Seagoing Buoy Tenders (e.g., CGCs JUNIPER, WALNUT, and CYPRESS). Through large-scale hull and structural repairs, and replacement of outdated equipment, the staff greatly improved the Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation fleet. The unit also performed impressive work on the 270′ Service Life Extension Projects, returning many operational days to the Atlantic Area Commander. Their responsiveness to customers’ needs, ability to integrate the administrative and repair work of incoming and outgoing crews, and swift application of innovative processes are truly commendable.


Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Information Service Center-Infrastructure Services Division. This team worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve the availability and resilience of the Coast Guard’s IT infrastructure and expand the Service’s capability to work remotely. They displayed outstanding responsiveness, innovation, and integration by quickly identifying the challenges that impeded access to information, authorities, and developing essential solutions. As a result of their outstanding efforts, a large percentage of the Coast Guard workforce was able to work remotely while performing their responsibilities.

Hurricane IDA Personnel Support Team. This team’s efforts to assist Coast Guard personnel and their families who had to evacuate their homes due to Hurricane IDA were truly commendable. Despite severe damage (e.g., power outages that lasted for months) and complex challenges (e.g., the shutting down of legacy financial and travel systems to prepare for the FSMS transition), the team quickly provided the essential support services that impacted individuals needed. Through superb responsiveness and integrated communications, the team delivered entitlements; funding for lodging, travel, and other necessities; and more than $1.3 million in grants and loans.

District SEVEN and Base Miami Beach Regional Support Team 7. During the Coast Guard’s transition to a new financial management and procurement system, this team worked tirelessly to ensure that units had the knowledge and means to continue operating properly. The team developed innovative solutions, enabling fund managers to continue working offline during the FSMS transition, and conveyed clear instructions to help them navigate the new financial system. The team also displayed stellar responsiveness by going above and beyond to ensure that no units lost essential utilities (97 accounts), and all units attained accurate budgets and spend plans. The team’s financial support helped to alleviate the stress on members impacted by Hurricane IDA so that they could continue to perform their jobs and serve the Coast Guard and the American public.


Ashley Pfingsten, Health Services Technician, 1st Class; for performance as Base Honolulu Operational Medicine Clinic Supervisor. HS1 Pfingsten epitomized innovation, integration, and responsiveness as she consistently delivered stellar medical care and support to 1300+ service members across the Hawaiian Islands and primary care for 650 operators, despite only being resourced to support 350 patients. Quickly volunteered to serve as a flight-qualified HS to help save a patient’s life during a medivac from Palmyra Atoll. HS1 provided time-critical, mandatory COVID vaccinations and testing to meet foreign port entry requirements and ensure hundreds of cutter crewmembers were medically prepared for on-time, scheduled departures. She also provided exceptional medical administration while overseeing documentation for 240 members during a potable water crisis on Oahu and prepared the clinic for inspections to receive the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care certification.

Derek Williams, Chief Warrant Officer; for performance as Base Cape Cod Kaehler Memorial Clinic Administrator. CWO Williams provided outstanding medical service during the pandemic, which led him to be recognized as a critical leader for southeastern New England’s COVID-19 response. His remarkable responsiveness and innovative thinking were evident as he delivered exceptional medical care to Coast Guard members and their families, ensuring Service readiness. He also led Federal partner medical teams, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“I want to personally thank the award winners and other nominees for their exceptional customer service in support of the mission,” Thomas said in the announcement. “I thoroughly enjoyed reading through all the nominations, and I appreciate your leadership team for taking the time to recognize your remarkable efforts and incredible commitment to the Service. Through superb dedication, innovative solutions, and integrated communications, you certainly Advanced Our Mission Excellence by providing responsive mission support, resulting in operational success as the Service faced significant challenges, including the pandemic, natural disasters, and the transition to a new financial management system. In alignment with my Commander’s Intent, I applaud everyone for your Responsiveness, Integration, and Innovation.”

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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