Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: Fireman Zachary J. Stewart, Station Alexandria Bay, N.Y.

Fireman Zachary Stewart, a Connecticut native, reported to Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay, N.Y., in August 2012 from Recruit Training Center Cape May, N.J.

Stewart quickly certified as a communications watchstander, small boat crew member, boarding team member, ice rescuer, and tactical boat crew member. Chief Petty Officer James Wilcox, Station Alexandria Bay’s executive petty officer, immediately took notice of Stewart’s ability to quickly learn the different aspects of his job.

Fireman Stewart onboard Station Alexandria Bay. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marty Bowers

Fireman Stewart onboard Station Alexandria Bay.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marty Bowers

“I have never seen someone straight from boot camp get qualified with the speed that Stewart has,” said Wilcox.  “He is one of the station’s hardest workers!”

“Fireman Stewart is huge asset to the team,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Brandon Liesen, the officer in charge at Station Alexandria Bay. “His uniform, military bearing, and positive attitude sets an example for peers and supervisors alike.”

Stewart’s participation in unit operations includes the prosecution of high interest vessel boardings. These labor-intensive boardings often occurred late at night into the early morning hours over extended operational periods and required constant coordination and stamina to conduct safely.

Fireman Stewart piloting the station’s 24-foot response boat.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marty Bowers

Fireman Stewart piloting the station’s 24-foot response boat.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marty Bowers

Additionally, because of his maturity and competence, Stewart was selected by the command to represent the station and participate in Operation River Sentinel; an intensive multi-agency operation assembled to suppress smuggling across the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Stewart worked well beyond his pay grade to ensure the forward-deployed small boat was fully mission ready at all times. Following an early morning patrol in Massena, N.Y. on the morning of December 5, 2013, while the rest of the boat crew was still asleep, Stewart took it upon himself to get up early to conduct a thorough pre-mission inspection of the small boat to ensure it was ready for the next scheduled patrol. His acute attention to detail led to the discovery of a faulty seal in the steering ram that, if left unchecked, would have resulted in a dangerous steering casualty while on patrol.

“The level of maturity Stewart displays is more of what I would expect out of a petty officer,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Delbert ‘Marty’ Bowers, Station Alexandria Bay’s engineering petty officer. “He has done an excellent job of not only performing maintenance on the boat, but troubleshooting casualties that are normally above the skill level of a fireman.” 

Fireman Stewart performing maintenance on one of the station’s 25-foot response boat outboard engines. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marty Bowers

Fireman Stewart performing maintenance on one of the station’s 25-foot response boat outboard engines.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Marty Bowers

As a result of his hard work and outstanding performance, Stewart was recommended for and selected to a fill critical fill solicitation to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia shore side support unit. He is eagerly looking forward to overseas service as well as the future opportunity to attend Aviation Maintenance Technician ‘A’ school to advance his career in the Coast Guard.

“One thing is for certain,” said Liesen, “Wherever he goes and whatever he does, he is sure to be a very valuable shipmate and will continue to excel.”

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