Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young
With a history dating back to 1847, Coast Guard Cutter Bear has had remarkable crewmembers call her decks home, including Captain Michael Healy, First Lieutenant David Jarvis and Second Lieutenant Ellsworth Bertholf. Living up to the cutter’s legacy of “Serving the Present to Honor the Past,” Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Joseph D’Amico exhibits the highest levels of professionalism and leadership demanded by those who serve on Bear.
Aboard Bear, D’Amico is a qualified Underway Officer of the Deck (OOD), a position of unsurpassed responsibility where the ship is placed in the hands of the OOD themselves.
This qualification alone is a significant accomplishment for a Second Class Petty Officer, as it is usually only open to Junior Officers and highly competent Chiefs and First Class Petty Officers. D’Amico worked tirelessly to hone the skills and knowledge required to be an OOD, and ultimately the command opened the qualification to him – highlighting the command’s level of respect and trust in his abilities.
“Qualifying as an OOD is the cornerstone of professional growth for Cuttermen and comes from a breadth of knowledge and experiences,” said LT Sean Murray, the cutter’s Operations Officer. “It is one of the most rewarding experiences within the Coast Guard, actually standing watch for the first time as a fully qualified OOD knowing that you have responsibility for the ship.”
When D’Amico is not standing watch on the Bridge, he is one of Bear’s “go to” smallboat coxswains. D’Amico proved to be an instrumental asset during the cutter’s recent patrol where the crew was involved with five separate go-fast pursuits within a two-week period.
D’Amico shows excellence on the cutter’s bridge and at the controls of a smallboat, but shows an even greater commitment to his shipmates. During Bear’s most recent patrol D’Amico was on a fire team during a damage control drill when he noticed a crewmember in full fire fighting gear who began moving slowly and eventually fainted. D’Amico immediately caught them and called for a safety time out. His attention to his fellow crewmember and his ability to promptly cease the drill in a safe way allowed his shipmate to receive proper care.
This same commitment was evident when D’Amico spearheaded the cutter’s Boatswain’s Mate “striker program.” D’Amico took time out of his underway schedule to teach and train interested non-rates in navigational seamanship as well as smallboat procedures, leading to three non-rates being accepted into the Boatswain’s Mate program.
“BM2 D’Amico is a quiet and unassuming petty officer who continually exceeds all expectations,” said
CDR William Lane, Commanding Officer of Bear. “He is one of Bear’s most versatile shipmates and his judgment, dedication and seamanship are unparalleled. It’s been a pleasure and honor to serve with him.”
D’Amico’s consummate work ethic and dedication set the example for excellence at sea and his work aboard Bear most certainly honors the cutter’s past.