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FEATURE RELEASE: Meet the Kerleys  Follow link

April 25, 2015 10:10 am

Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam and Stephanie Kerley, yeomen at Training Center Cape May, N.J., pose for a photo. Yeomen provide customer service to personnel ranging from pay and benefits to travel and transportation. (Photo provided by the Kerley family) Petty Officer 3rd Class Stephanie Kerley, a yeoman at Training Center Cape May, N.J., stands in front of Sexton Hall, Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Kerley works in the center’s servicing personnel office, where yeomen administratively take care of issuing identification cards, and process recruits through enlisted basic training. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Micallef)

Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Micallef

Pay and personnel record keeping. Travel and transportation entitlements. Awards. Workforce administration. While much of the attention on the Coast Guard is often focused on rescue operations, a group of trained administrative professionals work behind the scenes to ensure the service keeps functioning. Those administrative tasks fall on Coast Guard yeomen.

Two such yeomen are Adam and Stephanie Kerley, who have a lot in common. They’re both active-duty Coast Guard members, they’re both third class petty officers, and they are both stationed at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, New Jersey. The commonalities don't stop there: They also share a last name and have two children.

Adam and Stephanie have created a healthy work-life balance by supporting each other at home and at work.

Adam and Stephanie first met in 2009 at Yeoman "A" School in Petaluma, California.

"My first day we were in our indoctrination class and I turned around and bam!” said Adam. "Yes, the world shook - and there was my future wife. I knew it from the minute we saw each other. The next two months were full of excitement and wonder as we got to know each other."

Like Adam, Stephanie was traveling across the country to learn a craft and was not expecting to meet anyone. She arrived in Petaluma with one goal: to graduate. Stephanie's goal became two goals when she met Adam and realized she wanted to spend her life with him.

"The instructor told us to introduce ourselves,” said Stephanie. “When [Adam] turned around he had these big blue eyes and I just had to know who he was. We connected and fell in love at first sight."

After Yeoman "A" School, Adam and Stephanie hoped to be stationed close to one another. With a little luck and some help from the Coast Guard, their hopes came to fruition.

Adam was stationed in Virginia Beach, Va., and although the couple could have been stationed a world apart, Stephanie was stationed just three hours away in Arlington, Va. They got married and had their first child, Adam Jr., while stationed in Virginia.

After completing their tours in Virginia, Adam and Stephanie each received orders to Training Center Cape May, where they work in the same building.

Stephanie works at the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System office as a verifying official. Her main duty is customer service, and she spends a lot of time creating identification cards for recruits in week six of enlisted basic training.

"I think with my experience of being a mom, being in the Coast Guard for nine years and being away from my family helps me relate to them,"

said Stephanie. "If we can help one of them not be so emotional, or not freak out about reporting to their first unit, then we are doing something right. Some of these kids are 17 or 18 years old and this is their first time leaving home. I can definitely relate to them."

When they come in to get their identification cards they actually have time to think about being away from their families. They have a few minutes away from their company commander and their training schedule.

"I've seen [recruits] come through here and be very emotional," said Stephanie. "You have to help them and show them some compassion."

Stephanie also assists retired and disabled veterans, and she said it’s her favorite aspect of being a yeoman. Listening to their stories is special to her because she likes meeting people and interacting with them face to face.

While Stephanie assists recruits and retirees, Adam assists incoming residents and their families upon reporting to Cape May. Adam practices similar parental skills while at work, compassion being at the top of his list.

"If one didn't have some sort of patience, coupled with compassion, it would make for a very unpleasant contact for everyone I serve," said Adam.

Adam said he believes fatherhood carries over into his Coast Guard career in multiple ways. Being a father builds his patience for many situations when helping people in stressful situations and helps him empathize with the families.

The couple recently welcomed their newest addition to the family, Ariana.

"Being away from work for six months due to health issues and pregnancy was hard," said Stephanie. "Being here is really helpful to us. My husband is here so we can walk over to the Child Development Center on base anytime to see our kids. They have an open door policy and they are great."

Adam said no matter what a person does for a living, there is going to be good and bad that comes with every situation. Everyone deals with the unknown and life is anything but certain.

"Anyone in the Coast Guard can be called upon at anytime to deploy and serve their country," said Adam.

Adam is called upon to coach people through their reporting process at work, but it doesn't end when he leaves the office. He also coaches his son’s tee-ball baseball team, and Stephanie is excited for this new experience.

"I'm going to make a T-shirt and create a sign for his games," said Stephanie. "I'm going to be that mom. My daughter and I will be the cheerleaders.”

When asked about their marriage, their family and their Coast Guard careers, it is evident they have developed a deep appreciation and excitement for all of the above.

"We will continue to stay close and be each other's best friends and enjoy our journey," said Adam. "We enjoy being a part of this organization and it has been such a blessing to us."

Adam and Stephanie said they don't know what the future has in store, but they will continue to serve and do their jobs to the best of their abilities, and in doing so, hope to show they hold true to the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

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UPDATE 2: Coast Guard responding to vessel aground in St. Marys River  Follow link

April 24, 2015 10:29 pm

Lightering Operations to commence Saturday

Coast Guard suspends search for fishing vessel Kolea off Oahu  Follow link

April 24, 2015 9:20 pm

Photo available

Coast Guard wife, North Bend, Ore., native sees husband retire after 30 years of service  Follow link

April 24, 2015 9:12 pm

The former Amber Ashenfelter, the wife of Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield (right), receives a certificate of appreciation from Rear Adm. Joseph Servideo, commander, 11th Coast Guard District, during a retirement ceremony for Hatfield on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Friday, April 24, 2015. Hatfield retired after 30 years of Coast Guard service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough) The former Amber Ashenfelter (right) and her four daughters listen as her husband, Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield, recalls his time at sea during his retirement ceremony as chief of staff for the 11th Coast Guard District on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Friday, April 24, 2015. Hatfield retired after 30 years of Coast Guard service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough)

ALAMEDA, Calif. — A Coast Guardsman retired after 30 years of service as the chief of staff for the 11th Coast Guard District during a retirement ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda Friday.

Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield served as the chief of staff for the 11th District since June 2013. His wife, the former Amber Ashenfelter, a native of North Bend, Oregon, and a graduate of Oregon State University, accompanied Hatfield at the ceremony with their daughters Kelsy, Brianna, Jenna and Ashley.

Most recently, Hatfield served as the chief of response for the 11th District from 2012 to 2013, where he was responsible for the missions of search and rescue, law enforcement, Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security, marine environmental response and intelligence operations across 3.3 million square miles of coastal and offshore waters extending 1,150 miles offshore from the northern California border south to the Colombian and Ecuador border in South America.

A career cutterman, Hatfield previously served as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, homeported in Alameda, and as the executive officer as part of the commissioning crew and plankowner of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf. Additional tours aboard cutters include the Coast Guard Cutters Alex Haley, Alert, Resolute and Midgett.

Hatfield's staff assignments while ashore include serving as the Chief, Pacific Area Response, and Chief, Pacific Area Maritime Patrol Forces Management and Allocation in Alameda; Coast Guard Liaison Officer to the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific in Honolulu; Assistant facilities manager at Support Center Kodiak, Alaska; and as the Law Enforcement Detachment Program Manager on the Operations, Law Enforcement and Intelligence staff for the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami.

Hatfield is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He subsequently earned a master's degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in 1999.

Hatfield received the Legion of Merit at the retirement ceremony, including during his 30-year career the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, a permanent Cutterman's Insignia and numerous other operational and unit awards.

He will reside in Novato, California, with his wife and four daughters.



Livingston, Mont., native retires after 30 years of Coast Guard service  Follow link

April 24, 2015 9:01 pm

Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield (right) smiles as his Certificate of Retirement is recited during his retirement ceremony with Rear Adm. Joseph Servideo, commander, 11th Coast Guard District on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Friday, April 24, 2015. Hatfield retired as the chief of staff of the 11th District after 30 years of service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough) Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield talks about his time at sea during his retirement ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Friday, April 24, 2015. Hatfield retired as the chief of staff of the 11th District after 30 years of service. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Bill Colclough)

ALAMEDA, Calif. — A native of Livingston, Montana, retired after 30 years of Coast Guard service as the chief of staff for the 11th Coast Guard District during a retirement ceremony on Coast Guard Island in Alameda Friday.

Capt. Kelly L. Hatfield served as the chief of staff for the 11th District since June 2013. Most recently, Hatfield served as the chief of response for the 11th District from 2012 to 2013, where he was responsible for the missions of search and rescue, law enforcement, Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security, marine environmental response and intelligence operations across 3.3 million square miles of coastal and offshore waters extending 1,150 miles offshore from the northern California border south to the Colombian and Ecuador border in South America.

A career cutterman, Hatfield previously served as the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Waesche, homeported in Alameda, and as the executive officer as part of the commissioning crew and plankowner of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf. Additional tours aboard cutters include the Coast Guard Cutters Alex Haley, Alert, Resolute and Midgett.

Hatfield's staff assignments while ashore include serving as the Chief, Pacific Area Response, and Chief, Pacific Area Maritime Patrol Forces Management and Allocation in Alameda; Coast Guard Liaison Officer to the Joint Intelligence Center Pacific in Honolulu; Aassistant facilities manager at Support Center Kodiak, Alaska; and as the Law Enforcement Detachment Program Manager on the Operations, Law Enforcement and Intelligence staff for the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami.

Hatfield is a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Acadamy, earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. He subsequently earned a master's degree in Naitonal Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, in 1999.

Hatfield received the Legion of Merit at the retirement ceremony, including during his 30-year career the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, five Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, two Coast Guard Achievement Medals, a permanent Cutterman's Insignia and numerous other operational and unit awards.

He will continue to live in Novato with his wife, the former Amber Ashenfelter and their daughters, Kelsy, Brianna, Jenna and Ashley.



UPDATE: Coast Guard rescues one, still searching for another off Lanai  Follow link

April 24, 2015 7:46 pm

Photos available

UPDATE: Coast Guard responding to vessel aground in St. Marys River  Follow link

April 24, 2015 7:39 pm

motor vessel Mississagi aground in St Marys River

The motor vessel Mississagi sits aground in the lower St. Marys River near De Tour Village, Mich., April 22, 2015.

The Mississagi is a 603-foot bulk carrier.

U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City


SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. —The Coast Guard continues to monitor the 603-foot bulk carrier Mississagi which ran aground in the St. Marys River near De Tour Village, Michigan early Wednesday.

The motor vessel, a Canadian-flagged bulk carrier with a load of stone, was transiting downbound the St. Marys River from Bruce Mines, Ontario, when it ran aground in the Potagannissing Bay, approximately 4 miles northeast of De Tour Village.

The bow of the vessel is aground. There are no reported injuries to the crew and no reported pollution.

Coast Guard marine inspectors completed a post-damage survey Wednesday afternoon and determined that port and starboard ballast tanks had no significant damage or ingress of water. In addition, fuel tanks located near the stern of the vessel did not sustain any damage.

The Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn. a 100-foot buoy tender, conducted an aids to navigation verification survey Wednesday and determined that all aids were in position in the water when the grounding occurred.

The owner of the vessel, Lower Lakes Towing, continues to work with Northeast Tech Salvage Company on a salvage plan to present to the Coast Guard. Lightering operations are expected to commence following the Coast Guard's approval of the salvage plan.

At about 1:00 a.m. Wednesday, the master of the motor vessel Mississagi notified a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, that the carrier was hard aground on shoal water in the vicinity of De Tour Village.

The Coast Guard responded with a 25-foot response boat from Station Sault Ste. Marie as well as a 45-foot response boat from Station St. Ignace, Michigan. A helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, aboard an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter, flew over the vessel to confirm there was no pollution.

The vessel is located out of the shipping channel, and navigation in the St. Marys River is currently unimpeded.

The Coast Guard has established a 500-yard safety zone around the vessel.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.



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