Leadership Spotlight: Local Coast Guardsman receives 2015 Spring Military Information Technology Leadership Award

Kodiak, AK (Mar 16)--Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) a 378 feet high endurance cutter patrols the waters of off Kodiak Alaska.  MELLON is the third of the Coast Guard's Hamilton class High Endurance Cutters.  MELLON was commissioned in 1968 at                                                         Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. MELLON was named after Andrew W. Mellon, the 49th Secretary of the Treasury, who served during the administration of President Herbert Hoover, from 1921-1932. Her first homeport for many years was Honolulu, Hawaii, but in the early 90's MELLON transferred to Seattle,                                                               Washington. USCG photo by PA1 Keith Alholm

Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717), a 378 -foot high endurance cutter, patrols the waters of off Kodiak Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Keith Alholm.

Story by Seaman Sarah Wilson

To sail a ship safely around the world, it takes a crew of men and women who are willing, from time to time, to stay up around the clock troubleshooting unexpected errors, working tirelessly on system maintenance, and ensuring safe navigation through both tame and turbulent waters. And coffee — lots of coffee.

Petty Officer 1st Class James McArdle has been the go-to expert in all of those areas for three years aboard Coast Guard Cutter Mellon, a 378-foot high endurance cutter homeported in Seattle. As the ship’s resident coffee connoisseur and premier barista, he knows how to brew the perfect cup of joe. Always willing to caffeinate his shipmates, McArdle can be found in the mornings on the messdeck handing out mugs to the tired and the thirsty. Each cup is full of hot, frothy, freshly dripped espresso from his machine, the beans purchased from his favorite café near Pike Place Market. Even in the middle of the ocean, it tastes just like home.

After the workday begins, however, McArdle does so much more for his crew. His ceaseless and enthusiastic work as a lead electronics technician on Mellon has allowed the cutter to navigate more than 62,900 nautical miles (72,335 miles) during seven counterdrug and fisheries enforcement patrols.

His devotion to duty has not gone unnoticed.

McArdle received the 2015 Spring Military Information Technology Leadership Award from the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association May 28 in Arlington, Virginia.

 

Petty Officer 1st Class James McArdle of the Seattle-based Coast Guard Cutter Mellon receives the 2015 Spring Military Information Technology Leadership Award from the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association May 28 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo courtesy Mike Carpenter.

Petty Officer 1st Class James McArdle of the Seattle-based Coast Guard Cutter Mellon receives the 2015 Spring Military Information Technology Leadership Award from the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association May 28 in Arlington, Virginia. Photo courtesy Mike Carpenter.

The award is given annually to recognize one enlisted member and one officer from each military branch and the joint services community for their contributions to IT excellence. Winners for the award were selected by an executive selection board based on a blind, merit-based review process of nominations submitted from across the globe

“I am deeply honored and humbled to have been chosen for such a prestigious award,” said McArdle. “It is the highlight of more than 25 years of professional and technical growth and development.”

McArdle was nominated and selected for the award due to his extensive work on Seawatch, the ship’s primary electronic navigation system. When the Seawatch system was first being prototyped among Coast Guard assets, McArdle diagnosed and repaired numerous malfunctions and provided valuable recommendations for system updates. Recognizing McArdle’s dedication and talent, the Coast Guard Command, Control, and Communications Engineering Center chose Mellon to field test the latest six revisions to Seawatch. The Coast Guard’s IT command believed that McArdle’s insight and feedback would improve the reliability of the program before its delivery to the remainder of the service’s fleet.

“He spent countless hours optimizing the Seawatch system,” said Chief Petty Officer Andrew Rardon, McArdle’s supervisor on Mellon. “It was a labor of love that ended up benefiting not just the users aboard but the entire fleet.”

Attention to detail and commitment to the mission are the keys to success in any operation. Whether that mission involves making a perfect cup of coffee or plotting courses along the high seas, McArdle demonstrates the adaptability and expertise that warrant this prestigious recognition.

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