Great lakes Shipmate of the Week: Petty Officer 2nd Class David Leahy, USCGC Mobile Bay


Leahy poses in front of the ship as the crew prepares to get underway


Petty Officer 2nd Class David Leahy, from Batavia, Ill., is an Electrician’s Mate aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, homeprted in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He transferred to the cutter in January 2010 after his first career tour at Station Grand Haven, Mich.

As the Electrician’s Mate Division Lead Petty Officer, Leahy encounters numerous challenges due to the unique nature of the Mobile Bay, which is one of only two 140-ft icebreaking cutters with a 120-ft aids to navigation barge in the Coast Guard. Both platforms contain abundant obstacles in electrical systems that require the tireless efforts of the unit’s electricians, and engineers as a whole, to ensure a fully operational cutter.

Many of the Mobile Bay’s systems, such as the phone lines, alarms, fathometers and the bow thruster controls must be cross-connected between the two platforms to enable the safe operation of the cutter. Leahy has worked diligently since his arrival to gain the knowledge and experience required to perform maintenance and troubleshooting on both platforms, as well as to ensure that the cross-connections are properly maintained and functional. Additionally, he has made great strides in passing this knowledge on to more junior members of the crew as well as to new arrivals.

Leahy is given a significant amount of autonomy for a 2nd Class Petty Officer. The unit frequently relies on his skills in order to produce daily and weekly work lists for his division and ensure that his shop carries out these tasks. He routinely brings suggestions and recommendations to his superiors in the Engineering Department, which often lead to increased unit morale and a more highly functional department.

Leahy makes a round as underway engineer officer of the watch

All electrician procurement requests go through Leahy, and he often assists his shipmates in the Engineering Department by instructing them in proper procedures or filling out procurement requests on their behalf. He also works closely with the supply officer and property officer to ensure that inventory checks are completed and that property audits are carried out in a timely manner.

In addition to his responsibilities as the EM Division Lead Petty Officer, Leahy has qualified as Underway Engineer of the Watch , and is responsible for the bi-weekly Tag-Out Log audit.

He also serves as the unit Health Promotion Coordinator. As Health Promotion Coordinator, Leahy encouraged shipmates to join him while participating in 3 Door County Triathlons, the Green Bay Triathlon, OshKosh Mud Run, Door County Polar Plunge and numerous 5k runs.

Many shipmates have sought Leahy’s advice, both inside and outside of work.

“He’s a hard worker and our go-to guy for electrical problems and troubleshooting,” said Chief Petty Officer Ron Sandahl, a member of the cutter.

“He’s an excellent electrician and even better shipmate.”
He is always available to help a shipmate with his prodigious technical knowledge in addition to his expertise with duck calls. Leahy is an avid sportsman, and he can be heard practicing his calls on the fantail.

Leahy troubleshoots the Mobile Bay’s bow thruster control panel

Leahy recently volunteered to plan and organize Mobile Bay’s 32nd annual Ghost Ship, which ushered 681 civilian guests throughout the tug and barge. His enthusiasm and motivation brought the entire crew together to set up and participate in the event, making it a resounding success. Leahy worked with the city of Sturgeon Bay to arrange for advertising in local papers and radio stations. He also placed posters and banners throughout the city. As a result of this one day event, the crew of the cutter collected more than six shopping carts worth of food from residents to be donated to charity.

Leahy intends to take the Servicewide exam in May of 2013 and is looking to transfer to an Aids To Navigation Team or Maintenance Augmentation Team once his tour on the Mobile Bay is complete.

Leahy is happily married to his wife, Kristy, and is the proud father of his son Kaden. Through his interactions with shipmates, family and the general public, Leahy has demonstrated that he is a valued member of both the community and the Coast Guard.

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