Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: BM1 Joe Z. Luce, CG Station Rochester, NY

Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Z. Luce, a Louisville, Ky., native, joined the Coast Guard in January 2003. His current duty assignment is Coast Guard Station Rochester, N.Y., reporting aboard in 2010. This marks his second tour at the station following a brief two year assignment to Coast Guard Cutter Maple. Luce, the operations petty officer at Station Rochester, also fills multiple other critical roles at the unit including training petty officer, heavy weather coxswain and boarding officer.

BM1 Luce (left) and BM1 Simonds (right), checking flares on recreational sailboat "Kiddo" on the Genesee River 06 Nov 13. Photo taken by BM1 Spitler.

BM1 Luce (left) and BM1 Simonds (right), checking flares on recreational sailboat “Kiddo” on the Genesee River 06 Nov 13. Photo taken by BM1 Spitler.

As the training petty officer, Luce has completely restructured the station’s training program. He also instituted a weekly and monthly training plan as well as created qualification timeline memos for all newly reported members. Additionally, Luce reviewed the unit’s navigation standards and identified and corrected discrepancies. To assist standardization efforts throughout the station’s watch sections, he created numerous templates for communication logs and station announcement pipes.

As an experienced boarding officer, Luce provides an expert insight on law enforcement operations that have been called upon on numerous occasions. His experience was crucial during a 6-hour long boarding of a tug boat that was operating without a licensed master. The tug had an expired certificate of documentation as well as incorrect endorsements. This boarding contributed key evidence to the federal case being constructed against the unlicensed master, ultimately resulting in an indictment by a federal grand jury on twelve counts of making false statements to the Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security officials. More recently, he assisted in the safety boarding of a 26-foot sail boat, terminating its voyage for nine violations including unsafe conditions.

Luce is no stranger to hard work and determination. As a testament to his efforts, he has been offered a position as executive petty officer at Aids-to-Navigation Team South Portland, Maine.

“I believe that Luce will do an excellent job as an XPO at any unit,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Simonds. Station Rochester’s first lieutenant. “He has a passion for his people and a strong desire to leave a unit better than it was when he arrived.”

Luce conducting a boarding on a recreational sailboat "Kiddo" on the Genesee River 06 Nov 13. Photo taken by BM1 Spitler.

Luce conducting a boarding on a recreational sailboat “Kiddo” on the Genesee River 06 Nov 13. Photo taken by BM1 Spitler.

In addition to his assigned responsibilities, Luce takes pride in giving back to the community. He has taken a leading role in the coordination of local military funeral honors requests, providing support to over 50 funerals for veterans. He also gives station tours, provides support to parades in surrounding communities, reads books to local school children and has participated in an Honor Flight evolution.

“Luce’s work ethic and knowledge will be missed when he departs,” said Petty Officer 1st Class George Spitler, Station Rochester’s executive petty officer, “His work ethic and his devotion to duty and family makes him a role model for the junior members at the unit, someone to look up to and aspire to be.” 

When asked about his Coast Guard career, Luce said, “We get to serve, to see the world and meet great people; don’t underestimate the power of that.”

 

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