Leadership Spotlight: Coast Guard 13th District Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year 2014

Story by Petty Officer 1st Class George Degener

Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly stands with a plaque recognizing him as the district's Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year 2014 at a dinner host by Coast Guard Base Seattle March 27, 2015. Sly is an avionics electrical technician at Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Wash. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly.

Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly stands with a plaque recognizing him as the district’s Enlisted Petty Officer of the Year 2014 at a dinner hosted by Coast Guard Base Seattle March 27, 2015. Sly is an avionics electrical technician at Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles, Wash. U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly.

Every day Coast Guardsmen across the Pacific Northwest go above and beyond the call of duty. Throughout 2014, one member assigned to Coast Guard Air Station/Sector Field Office Port Angeles, Washington, demonstrated leadership qualities, professional proficiency and an attitude of selfless service above all others.

Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly, an avionics electrical technician, has been selected as the 13th Coast Guard District’s enlisted person of the year.

“I am humbled to be the EPOY for District 13,” said Sly. “It was incredibly competitive, and I never expected to be standing on a stage accepting a plaque from the district commander. I am thankful to my supervisors and my command for getting me that far. I had never really taken stock of everything I had done last year before it was being read to me at the banquet in Seattle. It was, and continues to be, an immense honor.”

Air Station Port Angeles personnel are responsible for search and rescue, law enforcement, homeland security and resource protection operations across a vast area that includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Washington Coast around the Olympic Peninsula to Puget Sound.

As the Avionics Shop supervisor, Sly lead six avionics technicians and two maintenance mechanics through more than 4,000 aircraft maintenance hours. His diligence and expertise as the primary quality assurance inspector for three MH-65 Dolphin helicopters supported more than 2,000 flight hours and resulted in Port Angeles-based crews successfully completing 203 search and rescue cases.

“AET appealed to me because of the diversity of the job,” said Sly. “I was an easy recruitment. I walked into the recruiter’s office knowing what I wanted to do already. I have been able to work in aeronautical engineering while still being able to fly as a flight mechanic and aviation precision marksman.”

Aircrews from Port Angeles often respond to cases in remote areas of the Olympic Peninsula and work closely with first responders from other agencies. Sly was able to reprogram the radios onboard unit assets to work with other agencies’ equipment and enhance the Coast Guard’s ability to provide assistance to people in distress. In addition to communication interoperability, he also provided training to 40 Clallam County, Washington, firefighters on the capabilities of the MH-65 platform and standardized multi-agency SAR procedures with Clallam County volunteer rescuers.

Sly’s expertise and commitment to helping others extends far beyond the hangar. During his personal time, Sly conducted four Financial Peace University classes and helped others navigate the complex world of saving, budgeting and investing. He is also a personal financial advisor to three fellow Coast Guardsmen. In addition to his duties as a command financial specialist, he also earned enhanced certification as a victim advocate, a crucial role within the service that provides support for victims of sexual assault.

“He is the most meticulously thorough aviation technician and aeronautical professional I’ve ever worked with,” said Chief Petty Officer Scott Bigelow, Sly’s previous supervisor in the unit’s Quality Assurance shop. “That’s saying a lot, because we are all meticulous when it comes to our craft. He excels at everything from being an aviation gunner to flight mechanic, so much so that he has been an instructor for both duties, and never belittles his fellow aviator or bemoans his station. He is so caring that he is a victim advocate and also a command financial adviser, providing free financial Peace University classes to his shipmates and their spouses.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly is an avid outdoorsman and hiker currently stationed in the Pacific Northwest. His skills were of particular use selection as a member of the U.S. Army’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command as part of an expedition to Koge Bay, Greenland. Photo courtesy Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly.

Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly is an avid outdoorsman and hiker currently stationed in the Pacific Northwest. His skills were of particular use when serving as a member of the U.S. Army’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command as part of an expedition to Koge Bay, Greenland. Photo courtesy Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly.

While the unit and his shipmates certainly benefit from Sly’s professionalism and abilities, his mountaineering prowess led to his selection as a member of the U.S. Army’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command as part of an expedition to Koge Bay, Greenland. Mission 14-1GL involved searching near for the remains of Lt. John Pritchard and Petty Officer Benjamin Bottoms, the Coast Guard’s last two members listed as missing in action. His work party spent two months sleeping in tents and working 12-hour days in an environment even more remote than the wildest parts of the Olympic National Forest.

“He’s an avid hiker and outdoorsman, has impeccable comedic timing and is a thesaurus frequently quoting 50-cent words,” added Bigelow. “The Greenland trip was icing on an already rich cake. Nobody was surprised to hear how much he helped and accomplished. They covered four times the ground they did the previous year, due to his expertise, flexibility and get it done attitude.”

Whether you find him working in a hangar, teaching in a classroom or trekking across a glacier, Petty Officer 1st Class Trevor Sly truly embodies the Coast Guard’s core values and maintains the highest levels of professionalism in support of the organization, his unit and his shipmates.

“My hope is to leave a mark on this organization which serves to inspire people to better themselves and those around them,” said Sly. “I value my peers and subordinates over any of the machines on which they work tirelessly to keep in operation. I understand how obvious that sounds, but it can be easy to forget the human element that exists behind our cutters, boats, and aircraft meeting mission objectives. In the multitude of extremely diverse experiences I have had in the Coast Guard, I sincerely believe that we have the most capable enlisted workforce in the U.S. military. The only challenge, then, is to successfully enable them to perform. That is my guiding principle.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,