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Coast Guard Announces Active and Reserve Enlisted Persons of the Year

Petty Officer Blankenship and Petty Officer Huffman are exceptional Coast Guardsmen who embody the service's Core Values both on and off duty.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced the selection of BM1 Kailea Blankenship of USCG STA Galveston as the 2021 Enlisted Person of the Year – Active Duty Component, and MK1 Ryan Huffman of USCG STA Channel Islands as the 2021 Enlisted Person of the Year – Reserve Component.

BM1 Blankenship currently serves as the Operations Petty Officer at Station Galveston where her leadership, professionalism, and community outreach efforts have positively impacted not only the Coast Guard, but the local community as well. An extraordinary leader, BM1 Blankenship has dedicated herself to the professional development of others by facilitating OIC review board study sessions, being an active participant during numerous Women’s Leadership Initiative events, and helping to develop a training program for the newly established Galveston Port Police’s Boat Division. BM1 Blankenship also serves as one of Base Galveston’s Victim Advocates, serving as a vital SAPR resource for the more than 400 members within the Base’s AOR. A consummate professional, BM1 Blankenship sought opportunities to develop her own skills by accepting a five month TDY assignment as the acting XPO aboard the USCGC STINGRAY, earning her Underway Officer of the Deck certification, and allowing for STINGRAY to continue to operate without loss of mission effectiveness. BM1 Blankenship has also made significant contributions to the local community through her volunteer efforts, having served over 450 families and sorted over 5000 pounds of food at the Galveston County Food Bank. In addition, BM1 Blankenship organized numerous engagements with local schools, introducing students to the Coast Guard, and assisting with recruitment efforts.

MK1 Huffman currently serves as a Reservist at Station Channel Islands where his continued leadership and devotion to duty has made significant impacts to the unit, Reserve program, and the Coast Guard as a whole. When Station Channel Islands was without a Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor (SERA), a position normally reserved for E-7 and above, MK1 Huffman stepped-up to fill the position for over 10 months, ensuring that the Station’s command maintained a singular point of contact for all Reserve issues. Identifying a lack of physical fitness opportunities due to local fitness center closures, MK1 Huffman created a running program for reserve members to assist with maintaining physical fitness and mental health. As the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the Nation, MK1 Huffman displayed unparalleled initiative by qualifying as a COVID-19 Contact Tracer serving MSRT West, USCGC BERTHOLF, and Station Morro Bay, helping to maintain the service’s readiness, and stem the spread of the virus. In addition, MK1 Huffman deployed with FEMA to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations as the Deputy Operations Section Chief within the Incident Management Team in Medford, OR, and the Lead Petty Officer at the Oakland, CA Mass Vaccination Site, helping to ensure the successful delivery of over 500,000 vaccines to the public. As the service seeks to grow the Reserve Program, MK1 Huffman selflessly volunteered to serve as a Reserve Recruiter and attended Reserve Recruiter Training. As a recruiter he has conducted over 70 community outreach events with colleges, police and fire departments, contributing greatly to the Service’s recruiting efforts.

Petty Officer Blankenship and Petty Officer Huffman are exceptional Coast Guardsmen who embody the service’s Core Values both on and off duty.

The following individuals were also noted by Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz as worthy of special recognition, having earned nominations from their commands and the respect of their fellow Coast Guard men and women as 2021 Enlisted Persons of the Year at the District level:

  • MK2 Michael F. Hand, CG STA New London, CT;
  • HS1 Russell Sunderland, CG TRACEN Cape May, NJ;
  • MST1 Kaitlyn Landolt, CG SECTOR Charleston, SC;
  • BM2 Nancy C. Worley, CGC Hollyhock, MI;
  • MK1 Chelsea Huff, CG Base Alameda, CA;
  • MST3 Sergey W. Hartshorne, CG SECTOR Columbia River, OR;
  • HS2 Caitlin S. Holubar, CG Air Station Barbers Point, HI;
  • HS1 Amanda L. Kitson, CG Base Ketchikan, AK;
  • OS1 Christopher J. Butzko, CG SECTOR New York, NY;
  • BM1 Gregory Truesdell, CG Station Oak Island, NC;
  • MST1 Catalina Jaques, CG SECTOR Miami, FL;
  • MK1 Jason W. Loerwald, CG STA New Orleans, LA;
  • HS1 Daniel J. Theriault, CG Base Cleveland, OH;
  • HS2 Marten R. Zagunis, CG Base Seattle, WA;
  • ME2 Mary C. Gillan, CG Station Apra Harbor, GU; and
  • BM1 Jennifer Stubblefield, CG Station Valdez, AK.
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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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