Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: YN3 Jessica Williamson, Sector Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.

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Williamson poses for a picture at her desk, which is adorned with various awards and tokens of appreciation of her tremendous personnel administration efforts.

 On the banks of the St. Mary’s River in the small town of Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. sits an unassuming building with a tremendous responsibility.  Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie is entrusted with the title “The Guardian of the Northern Lakes”.  As a support unit, the Sector supports all of the Coast Guard missions throughout the northern Great Lakes.  Whether it is ensuring the safety and well being of the public, serving Aids to Navigation (ATON), icebreaking in the various waterways, overseeing shipping, or caring for its own Coast Guardsmen, the Sector plays an integral role in each mission.  The men and women stationed at the Sector overcome location, distance, and environmental challenges daily, evidenced by their outstanding life saving and maritime safety statistics.  Capt. Joseph McGuiness often states of the Sector, “We do the most with the least.”  His quote exemplifies the efforts of the unit through the culmination of work performed by dedicated individuals such Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessica Williamson.

 Williamson, a yeoman, originally hails from the rural town of Warsaw, Ohio. Answering the call of adventure, she joined the Coast Guard in the fall of 2006.  Her first assignment following recruit basic training was aboard Coast Guard Cutter Seneca, serving as a fireman.  There, she conveyed her desire to become a yeoman and was enrolled in an on the job training curriculum known as the striker program. Williamson proved to be a quick study with regard to the yeoman rating. She was able to quickly put her new found expertise to work as Seneca’s permanent party yeoman transferred prior to the arrival of their relief, allowing Williamson the opportunity to rise to the task of assisting her shipmates with all administrative, travel and personnel related issues. Following her advancement to petty officer 3rd class, Williamson transferred to Personnel Services Support Unit Boston for the remainder of her first enlistment.

Williamson reported to Sector Sault Sainte Marie in August 2010 and was presented with an immediate challenge.  The Sector was short a yeoman, placing Williamson in charge of nearly 200 personnel records.  Embracing this challenge, she was able to demonstrate her capability and proficiency, easily transitioning into her new position and flawlessly managing her heavy workload.  Since then Williamson has time and again proven her abilities as a yeoman and as a top-notch shipmate.  She has earned the Sector’s Sailor of the Quarter award and has received various coins and plaques from units in appreciation of her efforts. 

These accolades come as no surprise to Lt. Cmdr. Rosenow, the head of the logistics department.

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Williamson (second from right) donates $500 worth of supplies to the Chippewa Humane Society from a fundraiser held by the Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie’s Enlisted Association.

 “Regarding her customer service, she is unmatched in the ability to respond to units’ administrative operational needs during or after working hours,” said Rosenow. “When a unit catches word that their records may be transferred to a different yeoman, they are highly against it.”  

McGuiness added, “On my travels throughout the AOR, she is the most complimented person I hear about.”

Besides being an excellent yeoman and administrative specialist, Williamson further distinguishes herself by her involvement in other ventures.  Currently, she serves as vice president of the Northern Great Lakes Region Coast Guard Enlisted Association (CGEA), which she helped found.  She has planned and conducted numerous fundraising events for both the CGEA and the Sector moral committee.  Most popular amongst her colleagues is the annual hog roast which Williamson hosts at her own expense, as well as her willingness to sew and mend Coast Guard uniforms. In her spare time, Williamson enjoys baking and volunteering at local horse shows.

Regardless of the setting, Williamson sets the standard for being a Shipmate through her work ethic, kindness, and generosity. 

Blushing at the notion of being different from anyone else, Williamson said, “I love my job!  Interacting with people on a day-to-day basis brings me so much joy!” 

Despite her humility, Williamson’s efforts and infectious positive attitude have made people take notice of the great work being performed at Sector Sault Sainte Marie.

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