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2013 Coast Guard Inspirational Leadership

Award Winner Summaries


Witherspoon Award

LCDR Robert Potter, CGC Aviation Training Center

LCDR Potter is a remarkably operationally-focused officer,  he buoys the workforce with his leadership, and charts their course by his example. In 2012, LCDR Potter meticulously organized two major projects that reached far beyond the Coast Guard and ATC Mobile. As Chairman for the Gulf Coast Military Mardi Gras Ball, he raised more than $25K and attracted more than 400 members, retirees, and spouses from all military services. Only two weeks later, after aviation was rocked by the tragic loss of CG6535, LCDR Potter was charged with organizing the memorial ceremony in a compressed four-day period. It was executed wondrously, an awe-inspiring tribute before 3000+ attendees.

In the summer of 2012, LCDR Potter assumed MH-60 Standardization Branch Chief duties – effectively serving as the airframe’s Chief Pilot in the midst of its most dynamic period ever. Historically filled by O-5s, LCDR Potter served his new role exceptionally by assertively enhancing communications with all nine MH-60 units, increasing standardization efforts, implementing best practices, and enthusiastically mentoring the fleet’s junior pilots and aspiring leaders. Throughout his many accomplishments, the common trait that runs central to LCDR Potter’s leadership is his unwavering commitment to others. Whether he is guiding his cadre of MH-60 instructors, organizing events that tighten our community, or humbly befriending a cancer-stricken boy with dreams of becoming a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, LCDR Potter is an ultimately inspiring winner for the 2012 Witherspoon Award.


McShan Award

HSC Naomi Dennis, CG Base Los Angeles Long Beach

Chief Health Services Technician (HSC) Dennis is personally championed the Coast Guard’s (CG) clinic move to a different military installation. She facilitated the acquisition of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment, telecommunications and office spaces, and choreographed the transfer of 1,200 military medical records. Her efforts to restructure services at the new location will cultivate over $350,000 in annual savings to the CG. HSC Dennis absorbed the responsibility as CG liaison for the Armed Forces Operational Medicine Symposium Committee and created 53 educational opportunities for military members.

Upon retirement of District Eleven’s Senior Independent Duty Health Services (IDHS) Technician, HSC Dennis volunteered to step into the E-8 role during the eight-month gap and established a monthly interactive training program for the IDHS community, and assisted the HS rating detailer to ensure a 100% pass rate for an Independent Duty Corpsman course.  In her own professional development pursuits, HSC Dennis earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a 3.9 grade point average, and scored number one on the HSCS May 2012 service-wide exam (raw score). She is a co-leader for the local Girl Scout Troop; she worked closely with Work-Life representatives to provide over 30 families unique benefits; she served as Command Financial Specialist (CFS); and, spearheaded the local Thanksgiving basket food drive.  HSC Dennis has gained the utmost respect at all levels of the organization.  She is a true leader to all around her.

Putnam Award

Mr. George Noblit, CG TRACEN Cape May

Mr. George Noblit displays strong organizational leadership qualities as the civilian supervisor in charge of all maintenance at Training Center Cape May (TCCM). He leads a staff of 28 responding to over 4,500 corrective maintenance work orders and completed over 12,000 hours of preventative maintenance work to sustain existing facilities. His efforts significantly contributed to TCCM’s receipt of the 2011 Cowart Award (Outstanding Contribution to the USCG Civil Engineering Program). Mr. Noblit’s leadership as the Cape May Chief’s Association’s Lifetime Membership Chairperson has produced initiatives for involvement in the Toys for Tots program, increased volunteerism at the USO, and led to financial sponsorship which enabled members E-5 and below to attend the Coast Guard Ball with their spouses at no expense.

His ability to gain commitment of dedicated subordinates was most evident in preparation for and recovery from hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Mr. Noblit demonstrated exceptional character by honoring Coast Guard Veterans near his home in Delaware County, PA. He established a program where survivors of fallen Coast Guardsmen provide him the name of former service members and location of their burial site. He then visited these sites and placed a U.S. Coast Guard marker at their grave and returned semi-annually to adorn their grave site with a Coast Guard Flag. This singular devotion to our fallen shipmates communicates volumes and resonates with the junior enlisted members under his supervision.

Greanoff Award

Mr. Thomas Chalifoux, Flotilla 18-11, Detroit, MI

Mr. Chalifoux’s leadership of Flotilla 18-11 resulted in it receiving the “Auxiliary Unit of the Year Award” for the most operational hours submitted for 2011 within the entire Coast Guard.  Mr. Chalifoux has been very supportive of Operations activity within the Flotilla, as he has participated in numerous SAR events on the Detroit River.  As a Flotilla Commander, Mr. Chalifoux has always supported the needs of USCG Station Belle Isle, primarily in patrolling the Detroit River in an effort to promote RBS.  Mr. Chalifoux received the Member Training Award for 2011. 

Mr. Chalifoux has taken the Coast Guard goal of promoting the RBS mission very seriously.  As a result, Mr. Chalifoux and the Division Public Education Staff Officer orchestrated the required resources to conduct a Public Affairs event during Boat Safety Week in Belleville, Michigan during last year’s campaign.  Displaying exemplary initiative, Mr. Chalifoux worked with the Belleville City Council to garner their support and understanding to conduct more boating safety courses.  Mr. Chalifoux also helped organize and instruct a Boat Safety Class that was offered to a troubled teens group in the Detroit Metro area, and at the request of the Justice Department, taught Boat Safety to several at-risk children. 

Elite Male Athlete of the Year

LCDR Michael Danish, University of Miami

LCDR Danish placed 2nd place in the US Cup/South East Regional Championship (Olympic Distance Cross Country Mountain Bike). He took 1st place in his age group at the Xterra East Coast Championship Off-Road Triathlon. He also achieved 1st place in his age group in the Off-Road Assault on Mount Mount Mitchell.  LCDR Danish placed 8th in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Cross-Triathlon World Championships and represented Team USA at the Off-Road Triathlon World Championship where they finished in the top 10 earning a bronze medal. Lastly, but certainly not least, he placed 147th in the Ironman World Championship out of over 2000 participants and 34th in his age group, LCDR Danish was the 2nd military athlete to cross the finish line.

Elite Female Athlete of the Year

YN2 Syreeta Bromfield, CG National Pollution Fund

YN2 Bromfield serves as co-captain of the 2012 U.S. Navy Women’s Basketball Team. Her leadership led the team to achieve first place in the All Armed Forces Tournament in Panama City Florida in March 2012, where she averaged 17 points and 9 rebounds per game. She also served as the co-captain of the 2012 All Armed Forces Women’s Basketball Team that participated in the 2012 Pro-Am Women’s National Basketball Tournament in Las Vegas, with her assistance the team placed fourth.  YN2 Bromfield volunteers as the Blood Drive Coordinator for the Ballston area and at the Fort Belvoir youth summer basketball camp where she coaches the Select Lady Barracudas 8th grade team.




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Last Modified 4/7/2014