REPORT FROM THE US COAST GUARD— Two Coast Guardsmen stationed in Hawaii and Guam were selected as the 2012 active duty enlisted person of the year and the reserve enlisted person of the year for the14th Coast Guard District during a recognition dinner at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Friday.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Erich J. Klinger, an aviation survival technician assigned to Air Station Barbers Point on Oahu, Hawaii and Petty Officer 2nd Class Juan Taijeron, a boatswains mateassigned to Station Apra Harbor, Guam, were chosen as the enlisted person of the year andreserve enlisted person of the year.
Klinger distinguished himself by taking a leadership role to help mentor six aviation survival technician airmen in completion of their rigorous physical fitness program. Kinger has been involved in 10 search and rescue missions in which he saved three lives. Klinger also took it upon himself to repair two life rafts that were initially believed to have been irreparable. He also rebuilt 12 oxygen heads for life rafts and redistributed surplus parachutes and survival suits to other aviation units saving the Coast Guard more than $22,000.
Klinger also assisted a local community in New Jersey impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
Taijeron has distinguished himself by amassing 385 hours underway and assisting in 141 missions. He is qualified as a crewmember aboard a Response Boat-Medium, one of the Coast Guard’s newest vessels. He helped streamline his unit’s armory program to ensure compliance with Naval standards. During his free time he assisted a fellow Coast Guardsman in marksmanship skills and helped make repairs to a jet dock, saving the Coast Guard approximately $10,000 in repairs and possible replacement parts.
His contributions to the local community included volunteering for the Angel Tree Project, in which Coast Guard volunteers donate toys to underprivileged children during the holidays. Taijeron also helped set up 12 static displays at public events to provide education about the Coast Guard and its operations.
Although all Coast Guard men and women perform a variety of missions including search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine safety inspections, protection of fisheries, aids-to-navigation, port security and anti-terrorism patrols, illegal drug and migrant interdiction, and environmental protection, the EPOY program recognizes exceptional men and women in the Coast Guard’s enlisted workforce who are top performers. Considered as the “best and brightest” from the field, these individuals are selected by a panel of senior enlisted members who evaluate each nominee against a set of established criteria that includes performance, work ethics, military bearing, standards of conduct and a strong community service commitment.
Klinger and Taijeron will compete for national honors with their peers from other Coast Guard Districts across the nation. The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Michael P. Leavitt, will recognize the national winners in an award ceremony later this spring.