Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: EM2 Kelly Yost, an electrician to keep an “ion”

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Alissa Flockerzi, 13th Coast Guard District

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelly Yost, an electrician’s mate stationed at Aids to Navigation Team Puget Sound in Seattle, uses a harness and clips to descend a ladder after fixing a light, Aug. 17, 2016. The Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring this network of signs, symbols, buoys, markers, light houses, and regulations is up to date and functioning properly so recreational and commercial boaters can safely navigate the maritime environment. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

The electrician trade is known for being a heavily male-dominated workforce, both in and outside of the military.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelly Yost, an electrician’s mate stationed at Aids to Navigation Team Puget Sound in Seattle, poses for a photo, Jan. 3, 2018. Yost was awarded the 2017 Coast Guard 13th District Enlisted Person of the Year award for all her hard work throughout the year. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

When Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelly Yost decided to become an electrician’s mate (EM), she knew she was entering a world where she would have her physical and mental capacities tested.

“As a woman in the military, I recognize that the ratio between men and women serving is unequal,” said Yost. “When you go into an engineering rating as a woman, it’s harder still because you’re even more of a fraction, so I worked hard to be as mentally and physically strong as the men I work with.”

Being an electrician’s mate requires a vast knowledge of electrical theory along with the practical hands-on skills required to manage, repair, maintain, calibrate, and install all kinds of electrical and electronic equipment.

As a small boat engineer and a senior lighthouse technician stationed at Aids to Navigation Team (ANT) Puget Sound in Seattle, Washington, Yost is responsible for the servicing, maintenance and discrepancy response of 346 primary aids to navigation (ATON).

She also assists with the discrepancy response on 246 secondary aids maintained by the crews of the Coast Guard Cutters Fir, Hickory and Henry Blake. As a small boat engineer, Yost schedules, coordinates and ensures the completion of maintenance on three ANT unit vessels, including the complex task of maintaining the unit’s 40-year-old, 55-foot aids to navigation boat.

“The EM rating appealed to me specifically because electricity was something I had little working knowledge in,” said Yost. “I wanted a career that would challenge me, force me outside my comfort zone and increase my skills and capabilities. The variety and opportunities in my job are what makes being an electrician’s mate a rewarding career.”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelly Yost, an electrician’s mate stationed at Aids to Navigation Puget Sound, admires the view while underway with her crew in Bellingham, Wash., Aug. 16, 2016. Today, the Coast Guard establishes, maintains and operates approximately 49,700 visual aids to navigation, requiring the efforts of 2,564 military personnel assigned to 76 cutters, 61 aids to navigation teams, and four small boat stations with aids to navigation responsibilities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

One experience Yost considered exceptionally rewarding was serving on a small team chosen for their ATON Lighthouse technical expertise. They worked together to rewrite the course curriculum for the Coast Guard Lighthouse Maintenance Course. She also worked with Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown (TRACEN) personnel, the Waterways Operations Product Line and the Office of Navigation Systems to validate 26 terminal performance objectives identified in the TRACEN Job Task Analysis of the Lighthouse Maintenance Course.

Alongside her commitment to her job at the ANT, Yost is a strong advocate for volunteering in her community to help promote human welfare.

“I do a lot with combating homelessness and I enjoy working with veterans and seniors with disabilities,” said Yost. “Volunteering allows you to see outside of yourself and look at the bigger picture. It only takes a small amount of time to change the life of somebody forever.”

During her time in Seattle, Yost volunteered with emergency food networks, Boy and Girl scouts, the Special Olympics, Northwest Food Harvest, Compass Housing Alliance and the Honor Flight Network, to name a few.

Women make up only about 10-to-15 percent of all Coast Guard personnel, so it’s important to recognize and retain high-achieving individuals like Yost.

After considering her extensive contributions to the EM rating, her heavy involvement in the community, and her dedication to becoming well-rounded in all facets of her life, Yost was chosen as the Enlisted Person of the Year for the 13th Coast Guard District.

The citation reads:

“Demonstrating professionalism and dedication to duty, she enabled her Shipmates’ qualifications and proficiency with updating unit Job Qualification Requirements, fitness standards, and boat trailering procedures, increasing the command’s mission readiness, efficiency, and effectiveness. Petty Officer Yost led unit missions, partnered across the District in Aid to Navigation mission support, and assisted in improving the Coast Guard’s Lighthouse Maintenance Course. Additionally she is a community leader, volunteering at senior centers, homeless shelters, and youth organizations; her infectious enthusiasm is a model of servant-leadership.”

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Kelly Yost (middle) holds the plaque for winning the 13th Coast Guard District Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year, March 2, 2018. As an electrician’s mate stationed at Aids to Navigation Team Puget Sound in Seattle, Yost and her crew spend time both on the water and on the road transiting to their aids to perform routine maintenance, rebuild structures and upgrade power configurations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ali Flockerzi.

“Personnel from the Coast Guard 13th District, Sector Puget Sound and my unit have all supported, developed and pushed me to be who I am today,” said Yost. “My family also taught me the value of building a stronger community and all of these forces have made a huge difference in my life. I hope to be the kind of person and Coast Guardsman that represents them as eloquently as they deserve.”


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