Future Leaders: Ensigns Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown

Monday, June 4, 2018

This week we featured several outstanding cadets on Compass as they prepared for their 2018 Commencement ceremony. To see the full Future Leaders series, click here.

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin

Newly commissioned Ensigns Jacob Brown and Kurt Caminske pause for a moment following the Coast Guard Academy's 2018 Commencement ceremony at the Academy in New London, Conn., May 23, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

Newly commissioned Ensigns Jacob Brown and Kurt Caminske pause for a moment following the Coast Guard Academy’s 2018 Commencement ceremony at the Academy in New London, Conn., May 23, 2018. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

As regimental commanding officer and executive officer of the Coast Guard AcademyCorps of Cadets, newly commissioned Ensigns Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown know what it takes to lead the future leaders of the Coast Guard.

Cadets have their own structured system within their ranks with senior cadets leading the way. At the top of the corps of cadet rank structure is a regimental staff of nine seniors.

The regimental staff is comprised of a commanding officer, executive officer, first lieutenant, workplace climate officer, chief of staff, communications officer, activities officer, support officer and planning officer.

The 59th annual Conference of Service Academy Superintendents is held at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn., April 16-18, 2018. The superintendents and senior leaders from the five service academies gathered for a welcome reception at the Otto Graham Hall of Athletic Excellence, participated in various discussions across campus and took part in a regimental review. The purpose of the annual COSAS gathering is to aid in the discussion of critical issues and collaborate regarding best practices. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Foguth.

The 59th annual Conference of Service Academy Superintendents is held at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn., April 16-18, 2018. The superintendents and senior leaders from the five service academies gathered for a welcome reception at the Otto Graham Hall of Athletic Excellence, participated in various discussions across campus and took part in a regimental review. The purpose of the annual COSAS gathering is to aid in the discussion of critical issues and collaborate regarding best practices. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nicole Foguth.

Per regulations, the regimental staff will assist the regimental commander in the execution of duties, ensure compliance by the corps to the Regulations for the Corps of Cadets and policy established by the superintendent and commandant of cadets, maintain the good order, discipline, and welfare of the corps, and provide feedback on the performance and conduct of board members to their respective supervisors.

“Caminske’s time as the regimental commanding officer reminds me of Theodore Roosevelt’s Critic,” said Cmdr. Jonathan Theel, the assistant commandant of cadets at the Academy.

“None of us ever ask for tough times, but someone’s true leadership capabilities are only shown during tough times. Caminske became the RCO during a turbulent time at the Academy and continued to push the corps toward unity and a time of tranquility.”

Other responsibilities include scheduling and hosting corps-wide events and ceremonies. Many of these events include the responsibility of public speaking and hosting a guest of honor.

A few of the events that Caminske has hosted as the regimental commanding officer are: The Hedrick Fellow event with Ambassador John Negroponte, Academy Athletics Corps-wide with Dr. Chris Howard, the president of Robert Morris University, Eclipse Week with guest speaker Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown, and multiple events with Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Academy First Class Cadets Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Brad Clift.

Coast Guard Academy First Class Cadets Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Brad Clift.

“As the RCO, my favorite event was my first event as the RCO,” said Caminske. “As I was thanking the superintendent for his kind words, I flubbed over my words and the audience starting cheering. I was able to smile and recover. This taught me that you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be competent and proficient in what you do and the rest will follow.”

Caminske has led the corps well, but he was not alone. As the corps of cadets regimental executive officer, Brown was with him every step of the way and sometimes leading in his place.

“Brown has an innate ability to immediately connect with people,” said Theel. “His emotional intelligence is ahead of what we would expect of an ensign.”

Duties of the RXO are to act as representative of the RCO, coordinate and execute cadet events, keep track of cadets and stand in for the RCO when needed.

In April, Brown stepped up as the acting RCO during Eclipse Week and had the privilege to host an event with American activist and motivational speaker Alexis Jones, and Vice Adm. Karl Shultz.

“My favorite part of being the regimental executive officer combines both the beginning and the end of my time on the staff; upon being selected to be a member of the staff there were many that stopped me in the passageways and told me ‘not to drop the ball,’ during the upcoming semester,” said Brown.

“At the end of the semester, seeing a shipmate that told me that the staff and I succeeded in ‘not dropping the ball’ was all that I could have ever asked for to close the semester as the RXO. The Spring Regimental Staff and I really pushed to serve everyone and it was great hearing that someone thought that we did just that.”

Now, after their senior year and graduation, Caminske and Brown are no longer leaders of the Class of 2018, but ensigns in the Coast Guard headed to their new units.

It is a time-honored tradition that newly commissioned Coast Guard officers will give a silver coin to the first junior ranking person who offers them a salute. After commencement today, Caminske’s first salute came from his younger sister, now Cadet Second Class Corinne Caminske.

U.S. Coast Guard First Class Cadets Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

U.S. Coast Guard First Class Cadets Kurt Caminske and Jacob Brown. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin.

“I felt such pride,” said Caminske. “Watching all the hard work she’s put in and how much she has grown, I couldn’t be prouder. I’m so blessed that my sister came to the Academy and even more so that we always push each other to do our best. I can’t wait to come back in two years to present her with her commission.”

Brown’s family was in attendance at commencement as well and cheered for him as he crossed the stage.

“Earlier today, I had the honor of receiving my commission from the vice president of the United States, Michael Pence,” said Brown.

“I honestly cannot explain the feeling I have; the honor, the pride, the joy, are all-indescribable. Having the opportunity to serve this great nation as an officer in the world’s greatest Coast Guard is truly a dream come true. I can’t wait to head out into the fleet and make this nation and my family proud,” said Brown.

This week Caminske will report to the Coast Guard Cutter James in North Charleston, South Carolina, and Brown will report to the Coast Guard Cutter Legare in Pensacola, Florida.

 


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