Maintenance Augmentation Team Provides Exemplary Support to the Fleet … and to their Community

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The members of Coast Guard Maintenance Augmentation Team Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., pose for a group photo at their unit March 15, 2012. Pictured left to right are: Chief Petty Officer Dave Martin; Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Walsh; Petty Officer 1st Class James Cotton (center, foreground); Petty Officer 3rd Class William Nipp (center, background); Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Ross; and Petty Officer 3rd Class James Gift. Not pictured are Senior Chief Petty Officer Dave Mooney and Petty Officer 3rd Class Isaac Barraza.

Photos by Senior Chief Petty Officer Dave Mooney, supervisor, Coast Guard Maintenance Augmentation Team Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.


Coast Guard units must work together to overcome ever-expanding operational requirements aboard an aging fleet of cutters.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Chief Petty Officer Dave Martin, of Coast Guard Maintenance Augmentation Team Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., waits to unload another package of canned goods to be processed by the Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency, March 14, 2012. Martin has been principally responsible for coordinating the MAT Sault Ste. Marie members' participation in the program for the past several years.

To take some of the burden off of cutter crews that face unexpected problems, the Coast Guard has — through the Surface Forces Logistics Center’s Industrial Operations Division — placed teams of highly qualified technical experts across the U.S.

These groups of engineers are the Coast Guard’s Maintenance Augmentation Teams.

During the 2011-12 ice-breaking season on the Great Lakes, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thunder Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug homeported in Rockland, Maine, was temporarily assigned to the 9th Coast Guard District to augment the eight Coast Guard icebreakers homeported throughout the 9th District.

During the 26-year-old cutter’s recent Great Lakes deployment, the crew faced some of these unforeseen problems and received help from the members of MAT Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“Without the assistance of the MAT, the ship’s crew would have been required to complete these maintenance items,” said Chief Warrant Officer Victor Herschaft, engineer officer aboard Thunder Bay. “All members of the MAT team displayed the utmost competence and professionalism and impressed the crew of Thunder Bay.”

When maintenance issues are mechanical in nature, they take a whole new meaning. These issues not only affect engineers aboard vessels that have to take time away from already busy work days, but also affect commercial vessels that may need help transiting through ice-clogged waterways.

“The members of MAT Sault Ste. Marie were eager to assist and were professional, motivated and friendly,” said Lt. Jerry Smith, commanding officer of Thunder Bay. “They provided outstanding customer service.”

“While onboard, the team’s pride, ownership and dedication to the 140-foot fleet were clearly evident,” echoed Lt. j.g. Bryan Kilcoin, executive officer of Thunder Bay.  “We cannot thank them enough for their high standard of excellence while supporting Thunder Bay.”

The machinery technicians, electrician’s mates and damage controlmen of MAT Sault Ste. Marie performed more than 270 total man hours of preventative maintenance and more than 150 hours of corrective maintenance on different engineering systems aboard Thunder Bay, helping to keep the ship operationally capable and keep the crew’s morale high.

“I am amazed on a daily basis by the amount of work, effort and pride this team shows in everything they do,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Dave Mooney, supervisor of MAT Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - Members of Coast Guard Maintenance Augmentation Team Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., pose for a photo after unloading 14 tons of canned goods as part of a local community service program, the Chippewa-Luce-Mackinac Community Action Agency.

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