Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: MK2 Peter D. Lenzo, Station Portage, Mich.

Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Bob Papp, often speaks of his guiding principle of steadying the service.

Papp states that, “We must bolster the fundamentals that underlie our readiness. Doctrine, training, resourcing, and policies must catch up to current mission demand and organizational structures.”

 

Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Lenzo, a machinery technician at Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., directs the haul-out of the stations 47-foot Motor Lifeboats. Lenzo’s direction was instrumental to ensuring the boats where pulled prior to the onset of ice. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Lenzo, a machinery technician at Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., directs the haul-out of the stations 47-foot Motor Lifeboats. Lenzo’s direction was instrumental to ensuring the boats where pulled prior to the onset of ice.
U.S. Coast Guard photo

Steadying the service allows Coast Guard members to hone critical knowledge and skills inherent to a specific geographical location. This is especially vital on the Great Lakes, the largest surface freshwater system on earth. Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter D. Lenzo, a machinery technician, is one of those who has been able to use this stability to both increase his personal proficiency and to impart his vast knowledge on his peers.

Currently assigned to Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., Lenzo has served previous Great Lakes tours at Station Charlevoix, Mich., and Station Ludington, Mich. Combined these tours account for over half of his career spent within the Coast Guard 9th District area of responsibility, allowing him to construct an impressive resume of certifications and experience. The most recent of his certifications acquired is that of ice rescuer, a vital winter function of many of the Coast Guard Stations on the Great Lakes.

Since graduating from the National Ice Rescue School, located in Essexville, Mich., in 2012, Lenzo has become instrumental as Station Portage’s lead ice rescue trainer. His innate ability to articulate and teach complex ice rescue techniques have since yielded a 100% ice rescue crew member qualification rate at Station Portage.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Lenzo, a machinery technician at Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., leads a classroom instruction on ice rescue procedures at the station. Lenzo’s instruction wasbeing evaluated by the Sector Sault Ste. Marie ready-for-operations team. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Johnson

Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Lenzo, a machinery technician at Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., leads a classroom instruction on ice rescue procedures at the station.
Lenzo’s instruction wasbeing evaluated by the Sector Sault Ste. Marie ready-for-operations team.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Johnson

 

“There is an enormous level of trust and responsibility the command puts on the shoulders of the ice rescue instructors to ensure proper life saving techniques are being utilized,” said Chief Petty Officer Daniel Clark, Lenzo’s supervisor.

As the unit’s assistant engineering petty officer, Lenzo spearheads numerous engineering initiatives, ensuring the stations boats and equipment are properly maintained for the safety of his shipmates.

Most recently, Lenzo personally oversaw and directed the winter haul out of both of the station’s 47-foot motor lifeboats. Utilizing risk management concepts and expert leadership he ensured a safe haul-out of both 40,000-pound boats, a task that was complicated by adverse weather that included sub-zero temperatures and winds exceeding 25 knots.

“Lenzo made it look easy,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Edward Iversen, the station’s officer-in-charge. “It was a well planned and executed evolution amidst numerous challenges.”

 

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Lenzo (far right) and his shipmates from Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., fill backpacks with food for disadvantaged children at a local charity. Lenzo helped pack more than 450 backpacks that were handed out to families prior to Christmas. U.S. Coast Guard photo

Petty Officer 2nd Class David Lenzo (far right) and his shipmates from Coast Guard Station Portage, Mich., fill backpacks with food for disadvantaged children at a local charity. Lenzo helped pack more than 450 backpacks that were handed out to families prior to Christmas.
U.S. Coast Guard photo

Once winter has its grip on the Keweenaw Peninsula, open water boat operations cease due to ice, but Lenzo and other members of Station Portage remain busy; they routinely seek out additional volunteer opportunities within the local community.

 

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, several members, including Lenzo, devoted numerous hours to a local charities helping to fill hundreds of backpacks for disadvantaged school children that may not have a meal available to them outside of school hours, particularly in the evenings and on weekends. A testament to his selflessness, Lenzo helped pack over 450 backpacks with meals to feed families during the Christmas season just prior to the winter break.

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