Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: BM3 Michael Mattei, Station Marblehead, OH

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Petty Officer Mattei stands on the aft deck of a 33 foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement.

Balancing the numerous duties of a multi-mission Coast Guard station can be a difficult task for even a veteran Coast Guardsman, but there are some who seem born ready to meet the challenge. Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Michael Mattei, assigned to Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, is one of those individuals. Transferring to the south shore of Lake Erie in late 2010, Mattei had no prior experience in station life, but quickly adjusted to the pace of operations and the high expectations placed on crewmen assigned there. In less than one year after reporting he certified as a coxswain, enabling him to command crews on two boat types, the 33 foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement and the 47 foot Motor Lifeboat. Following successful completion of a five week training course at the Maritime Law Enforcement Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, he also certified as a Boarding Officer, a position vesting him with the authority to board vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States for the enforcement of federal laws.

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As a Boarding Officer, Mattei is required to
qualify at the range on the Sig Sauer P229R DAK sidearm.

Through the summer months of 2012, Mattei excelled in each of these positions, executing over one hundred twenty small boat sorties and accumulating more than three hundred fifty hours in the performance of a range of search and rescue, law enforcement, environmental protection, and port security missions. Notably, in July of 2012, he led a crew aboard the 33 foot Special Purpose Craft – Law Enforcement in rescuing the operator of a disabled pleasure boat near Sandusky, Ohio during a severe weather system that produced gale force winds and tornado warnings. For their actions Mattei and his crew were awarded the Commandant’s Letter of Commendation. Always seeking new challenges and experiences,Mattei was one of the first to raise his hand when a solicitation for volunteers went out from the Coast Guard’s Seventh District to support Operation Vigilant Resolve, an ongoing law enforcement operation targeting human and drug smuggling activity in the waters around Puerto Rico. During the thrity days he supplemented boat crews based on the island territory, he acted as the Boarding Officer for near constant at sea patrols, helping to create a unified and layered force of law enforcement agencies that resulted in repeated successful at-sea interdictions.

With the arrival of winter Station Marblehead shifted its focus from traditional open water operations to ice rescue and response, missions unique to only a handful of Coast Guard stations and arguably some of the most challenging due to the harsh and unforgiving environmental conditions in which they are performed. As a certified Ice Rescuer and Crewmember on board the 20 foot Special Purpose Craft – Air, Mattei routinely set out in freezing conditions develop his and others’ skills in responding on ice. The resulting proficiency of Station Marblehead’s crews was noted following the 2013 District Nine Mass Casualty Exercise, appropriately titled Icy Resolve, in which shore based ice rescue teams and airboat crews from the Coast Guard and other federal, state, and local agencies responded to a mock airplane crash and recovered over fifty victims spread across multiple sites.

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Petty Officer Michael Mattei, his fiancée Victoria, and their three children.

In addition to his professional life Mattei also boasts a busy schedule off duty where he’s an active participant in organized sports and a devoted father. In March 2013 he and others from Station Marblehead fielded a team to compete in the District Nine basketball tournament where all had a great time and represented the station well through their sportsmanship and competitive drive. When not vying for a trophy he and his fiancée, Victoria, care for their infant daughter and two boys who enjoy playing at the local park and riding their bikes.

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