Great Lakes Shipmate of the Week: MST1 Caleb Peterson, Marine Safety Unit Duluth

With nearly 8 years of service in the Coast Guard, this Jasper, Missouri native has what it takes to stand out amongst his peers.

Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Peterson works alongside members from a variety of emergency response agencies during a cold weather oil spill response course held outside of the Minneapolis metro area.  U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patricia Wright
Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Peterson works alongside members from a variety of emergency response agencies during a cold weather oil spill response course held outside of the Minneapolis metro area. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patricia Wright

Since 2012, Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Peterson has been assigned to Marine Safety Unit Duluth, Minnesota, where he quickly established himself as a competent leader and a technical expert.

Peterson enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2006, and after completing recruit basic training, he was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Wahoo. He served aboard the cutter for almost a year before receiving orders to marine science technician school.

After school, Peterson went on to work at Marine Safety Unit Savannah, Georgia and Marine Safety Detachment Unalaska before transferring to Duluth.

There, he spent his first 18 months as lead petty officer of the incident management division, which is in charge of pollution prevention and response to reports of pollution. He supervised all pollution incidents, led response operations and carefully reviewed all casework to be entered into the Coast Guard’s electronic safety and law enforcement tracking system.

He also carefully analyzed area contingency plan record statistics, identified most common spill types at marinas and headed up the unit’s first-ever campaign to educate marina owners and operators on reporting requirements.

As a testament to his ability, Peterson was reassigned to the port state control division to lead foreign vessel exams.

During Duluth’s record winter, he eagerly volunteered to be a part of the unit’s first team to conduct winter joint operations and training raining with the Coast Guard 8th District in New Orleans. He showed remarkable skill and initiative at capitalizing on all field training opportunities presented during the training.

Peterson further distinguished himself through his foresight to bring a unique extreme cold weather oil spill response training to the captain of the port in Duluth. This course is normally held in Montana, but he worked with the course provider to bring it here.

Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Peterson conducts an oil spill cleanup demonstration as part of the 22nd annual River Quest, a program that educates over 1,200 students annually on the value of the St Louis River estuary.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitch Williams.
Petty Officer 1st Class Caleb Peterson conducts an oil spill cleanup demonstration as part of the 22nd annual River Quest, a program that educates over 1,200 students annually on the value of the St Louis River estuary.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Mitch Williams.

He rallied various agencies and port stakeholders and secured special state funding to reduce travel and tuition costs for all attendees. His exhaustive efforts resulted in three of his shipmates being accepted to attend the training. They were able to acquire new critical skills for dealing with special pollution response and containment strategies in MSU Duluth’s extreme snowy and icy winter environment.

“Peterson stands out,” said Cmdr. Alan Moore, Jr., MSU Duluth’s commanding officer. “He is highly dedicated, very respected by the port community and his enthusiasm coupled with ‘can-do attitude’ motivates the entire unit day in and day out. We are extremely proud of such a fine marine safety professional with long-list of accomplishments that’s indicative of his unlimited potential.”

Peterson is one of his unit’s top command duty officers and is heavily relied upon to orchestrate all response and communication processes with cases involving: pollution incidents, marine casualties, damage surveys, after hours and weekend vessel safety and security boardings, and training the MSU reserve team.

Peterson’s work ethic and generous personality is carried forward into his personal life. Off duty, he is an avid volunteer as part of the Coast Guard’s partnership in education program, where active duty Coast Guard members offer mentorship and tutoring to local school age children.

Additionally, he volunteers during River Quest, an educational activity where students are introduced to topics ranging from pollution prevention and stopping aquatic invaders, to boating safety and commercial shipping.

 

 

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