Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week, MST3 Joseph LaPlante, Marine Safety Detachment Massena

 Marine Safety Detachment Massena lies on the U.S. – Canadian border in the village of Massena, NY. Established in 1991, The MSD is strategically located in the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Administrative Building in close proximity to both the Snell and Eisenhower Locks. MSD Massena is a detachment of Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, working directly for the prevention department. Its primary mission is enforcing ballast water regulations designed to prevent the introduction of invasive species into the Great Lakes ecosystem. 

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Petty Officer LaPlante poses for a photo at Marine Safety Detachment Massena

One member of MSD Massena who has distinguished himself among his peers is Petty Officer 3rd Class Joseph LaPlante, a Marine Science Technician.  LaPlante is a native of Springfield, Mass. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2005.  Following successful completion of recruit basic training, he was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory home ported in Homer, Alaska. LaPlante later transferred to Air Station Kodiak prior to attending aviation maintenance technician A-school in 2006.  Following graduation of A-school, LaPlante was assigned to Air Station Traverse City, Mich., where he served for over a year before aspiring to change his rating to marine science technician. LaPlante attended and graduated marine science technician A-school and was assigned to MSU Portland, Ore in 2008. In July 2012 LaPlante received orders to MSD Massena, NY.

Speaking with regard to LaPlant’s work ethic, MSD Massena Supervisor, LCDR Carl Kepper, said, “LaPlante is a consummate professional with a constant desire to learn and do more. He is definitely a role model MST!”

An important member of MSD Massena, LaPlante has taken up many tasks within the unit, including ballast water inspector, ISPS inspector, pollution investigator, unit morale officer, area auxiliary liaison, and purchasing officer.  He is also the only petty officer at the MSD to hold the Federal-On-Scene Coordinators Representative qualification. This is quite an accomplishment for any junior petty officer.  On a routine day, LaPlante can either be found at the MSD, at the locks in Massena, or at one of the many ports in Canada along the lower St. Lawrence River, such as Montreal, Sorel-Tracy or Quebec City conducting international port security program and ballast water examinations.

LaPlante (2)“LaPlante’s professionalism and expert knowledge of the marine safety field has made him an integral member of MSD Massena” said Chief Petty Officer Mark Machunis, “he is never afraid to tackle the tough assignments to ensure the mission is completed without delay.”













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