U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist Awards presented to 19 members

By on May 2, 2019

Captain Joe Deer (right), Commanding Officer Air Station Elizabeth City, after awarding Frank Spruill (middle) and Keith Berntsen (right) from Outer Banks Flotilla 16-07 with the Medal of Operational Merit.

By Jack Horst, USCG Auxiliary

Nineteen members of the Outer Banks Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla received recognition for significant contribution to Coast Guard operations during their recent Divisional Training Day, hosted by College of The Albemarle in Manteo.

Frank Spruill and Keith Berntsen were awarded the highest honor available to an Auxiliarist, the Medal of Operational Merit, for providing over 200 hours of support to Coast Guard helicopter and fixed wing aircraft rescue training activities.

In their citations, Spruill and Berntsen were commended for uncommon devotion to duty, providing training of crews which executed 171 search-and-rescue operations.

The search and rescue operations resulted in 90 lives saved, $2.1 million in recovered property, and $4.1 million in labor and asset savings for the Coast Guard.

Capt. Joe Deer, commanding officer of Air Station Elizabeth City, presented the awards and thanked the entire flotilla for providing vital training that enable his pilots and crews to support emergency response activities, such as the significant role played in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, which devastated coastal North Carolina in September of 2018.

The Outer Banks Auxiliary Flotilla is among the most active in the country in providing direct support to active duty Coast Guard search and rescue training activities, as well as conducting a wide variety of boating safety and educational programs within the community.

With the boating season upon us, the flotilla is looking for volunteers, and encourages you to contact Human Resources Officer Jay Dunlap (jay.obx@gmail.com) to explore your involvement.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard, and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas.

The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit www.cgaux.org

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