In the Driver’s Seat: Bellingham-based Coast Guardsman receives 2013 Coxswain of the Year award

Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Mozley, a boatswain's mate assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Bellingham, Wash., receives the 2013 Cmdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy Award in Bellingham, Wash., Jan. 20, 2015. The award was established in 2003 to recognize outstanding Coast Guard small boat operators. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Mozley, a boatswain’s mate assigned to Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Bellingham, Wash., receives the 2013 Cmdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy Award in Bellingham, Wash., Jan. 20, 2015. The award was established in 2003 to recognize outstanding Coast Guard small boat operators. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Seaman Sarah Wilson.

Story by Seaman Sarah Wilson

From a television screen, a high-speed Coast Guard pursuit of a migrant-loaded raft can appear exciting and even effortless, but to the men and women of the Coast Guard, these high-risk operations can be a matter of life and death.

At the helm during these missions are the small boat coxswains responsible for steering, navigation and the crew’s safety.

To become a small boat coxswain, members must pass safety tests, oral exams and intense tactical training requirements. To be considered the best coxswain in the Coast Guard, they must do so much more.

“Coxswains operate in crazy conditions all over the world,” said Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Mozley. “Being a coxswain has given me a great appreciation for the teamwork every person puts in to complete the mission.”

He was honored as the 2013 Coxswain of the Year in Bellingham, Washington, Jan. 20 for his efforts during several migrant interdiction missions while serving aboard Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported Key West, Florida.

Mozley, a boatswain’s mate now assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Bellingham, received the Cmdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy Award for his superb boat handling skills during the operations.

Lt. j.g Gregory Bernstein (right), commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Bellingham, Wash. and Capt. Joe Raymond (left), commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle, present the Cmdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy Award on Jan. 20, 2015, to Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Mozley (middle) for his outstanding boat handling and seamanship skills. Mozley, a boatswain's mate now assigned to Terrapin, was nominated for the award following a series of high-risk migrant interdiction cases while he served aboard Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne in Key West, Fla. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer)

Lt. j.g Gregory Bernstein (right), commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Terrapin, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Bellingham, Wash. and Capt. Joe Raymond (left), commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle, present the Cmdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy Award on Jan. 20, 2015, to Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Mozley (middle) for his outstanding boat handling and seamanship skills. Mozley, a boatswain’s mate now assigned to Terrapin, was nominated for the award following a series of high-risk migrant interdiction cases while he served aboard Coast Guard Cutter Key Biscayne in Key West, Fla. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer.

Capt. Joe Raymond, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound in Seattle, and Lt. j.g Gregory Bernstein, commanding officer of Terrapin, presented the award.

“He has been a great addition to the Terrapin crew,” said Bernstein. “He is an outstanding coxswain and an inspirational leader.”

Throughout 2013, Mozley led 10 complex migrant interdictions that resulted in the safe recovery of more than 150 undocumented migrants from unseaworthy vessels.

One case took place Nov. 24, 2013, when Mozley navigated through heavy seas and total darkness to a raft overloaded with 12 Cuban migrants. Mozley quickly assessed the situation and devised a plan to safely remove the migrants, who had been without food or water for three days. Through Mozley’s quick and assertive task direction, the small boat crew managed to transfer the migrants to the cutter without incident.

Mozley was lauded for his poise, confidence and professional competence during the mission.

“I am very proud to receive this recognition,” said Mozley. “I feel fortunate to have experienced so much this far, and I’m excited for the future.”

Mozley has been a qualified coxswain since 2004 and has served on both active and reserve duty at four Coast Guard stations and two patrol boats.

The Cmdr. Ray Evans Outstanding Coxswain Trophy Award was established in 2003 to recognize small boat operators who demonstrate superior technical, professional, leadership and seamanship abilities while operating a Coast Guard boat.

Tags: , , , , , ,