Coast Guard awards Auxiliary Medals to AUXAIR Borinquen aircrews

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Capt. Patricia A. McFetridge, (left) Air Station Borinquen commanding officer and Capt. Drew W. Pearson, (right) U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander, present Charles "Chuck" Fischer, AUXAIR Borinquen aviation coordinator, with the Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal at Air Station Borinquen March 1, 2014.  The award was presented during a recognition ceremony at Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico as part of the annual Auxiliary Aviation Safety Workshop.  (U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Robert A. Fabich, Sr.)

Capt. Patricia A. McFetridge, (left) Air Station Borinquen commanding officer and Capt. Drew W. Pearson, (right) U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander, present Charles “Chuck” Fischer, AUXAIR Borinquen aviation coordinator, with the Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal at Air Station Borinquen March 1, 2014. The award was presented during a recognition ceremony at Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico as part of the annual Auxiliary Aviation Safety Workshop. (U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary photo by Robert A. Fabich, Sr.)

 

 

ST CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – The Coast Guard awarded the Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal and three Auxiliary Medals of Operational Merit to Coast Guard AUXAIR Borinquen personnel during the annual Auxiliary Aviation Safety Workshop held at Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico.

Article by Auxiliarist Robert A. Fabich, Sr., Public Affairs Officer

Charles “Chuck” Fischer, AUXAIR Borinquen aviation coordinator, was presented with the Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal, while the Auxiliary Medal of Operational Merit was presented to AUXAIR Borinquen Auxiliarists Lee Bertman, Carlos E. Matos, and Duane R. Minton.

 

“You can’t measure the value of the Coast Guard Auxiliary here in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and across the nation,” said Capt. Drew Pearson, Sector San Juan commander.  “The return on investment is astronomical. It is an amazing group of volunteers dedicated to the service of our nation, and I can’t get my job done without them. I rely on them each and every day.”

 

“The Auxiliary has changed since I have been here in Puerto Rico,” said Capt. Patricia McFetridge, Air Station Borinquen commanding officer. “During my first tour, we had a fledgling Auxiliary air program. Since I returned, I believe I now have the best Auxiliary flight program in the entire nation, and certainly in the Seventh District.”

 

Fischer and Bertman, Seventh Coast Guard District Auxiliary pilots, were also recognized and included in a special perpetual plaque that was introduced, and will be permanently mounted in the Air Station Borinquen hangar, recognizing AUXAIR members exceeding 1000 mission hours.

 

Fischer’s Auxiliary Meritorious Service Medal was awarded for his superior leadership while overseeing 10 Auxiliary aircraft and 45 members who collectively logged over 2,500 flight hours with 50 search and rescue missions (SAR) that saved or assisted 10 lives from 2010 thru 2013. He forged partnerships with federal agencies and conducted 300 maritime observation missions and flew 361 hours in 2012, the highest number of AUXAIR hours in the Seventh District and second only to one active duty aviator.

 

“AUXAIR Borinquen continues to grow and record an ever increasing number of flight hours for the Coast Guard, which significantly contribute to the safety and security of our country,”  said Fischer  “We are fortunate to have some of the most competent and dedicated aviators in the nation flying with us. Their achievements are nothing short of remarkable. I applaud each and every one of them for their hard work and commitment.”

 

Bertman, AUXAIR Borinquen aircraft commander, received the Medal of Operational Merit for the development of recruitment, training and high resolution photography programs that were adopted by AUXAIR during 2008-2013.  Matos, also an AUXAIR Borinquen aircraft commander, received the medal for reporting post hurricane damage of waterfront facilities and navigational aids, and coordinating efforts with Coast Guard response vessels during 2012 and 2013; and Minton, AUXAIR Borinquen assistant aviation coordinator and aircrew, received the decoration for his support of Coast Guard air operations in the Caribbean.

 

The two-day annual Auxiliary Aviation Safety Workshop is a time for AUXAIR Borinquen, active duty Coast Guard, partners and trainees to focus on member competencies, new and innovative technology, qualification skills, equipment testing, planning and procedures.

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