Serving with honor
Posted by PA3 Richard Brahm, Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The U.S. Coast Guard has been standing the watch for more than 220 years, guarding coasts, saving lives and protecting and maintaining our nations waterways. But the Coast Guard has also been involved in almost every major U.S. conflict since their inception in 1790.
Here is a modern timeline of wars and military operations the Coast Guard has been involved in:
1914 – 1918 World War I
1939 – 1945 World War II
1950 – 1953 Korean War
1964 – 1975 Vietnam War
1975 – Mayaguez
1983 - Grenada
1989 - Panama
1990 – 1991 Persian Gulf War
1994 - Haiti
1999 - Kosovo
2001 – Operation Noble Eagle
2003 – Operation Iraqi Freedom
2010 – Haiti
The list is not an all-inclusive list, but it sheds light on a part of the Coast Guard that many people do not see.
Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Draughon, a machinery technician for Marine Safety Unit Texas City, continued the long tradition of serving our country overseas.
He volunteered in December 2010, to deploy with U.S. Coast Guard Training and Advisory Team Four, operating in support of the Army’s 36th Infantry Division, at Contingency Operating Bases Basrah and Umm Qasr.
“When I first arrived in Bahrain, I was a member of the Patrol Forces Southwest Asia maintenance assist team for approximately 22 days,” stated Draughon.
While working for the MAT, Draughon was told about a unique opportunity to help the Iraqi Boarder Guard. That opportunity was working for the TAT-4.
This wasn’t a simple training mission for Draughon’s team. They came under small arms, rocket and mortar fire. To stay safe, Army soldiers from the 36th Infantry Division escorted the team to multiple locations.
“When coming under fire on base in the form of mortar/rocket attacks we would muster in a safe zone, wait until the all clear and give accountability to the U.S. Army,” said Draughon.
Draughon’s deployment ended in Sept. 2011 and on Oct. 6th he was awarded the Bronze Star for exceptional and meritorious service while assigned as the logistical engineering and training petty officer for TAT-4 during operation “New Dawn”. But he didn’t accomplish the mission on his own. He had help from fellow Coast Guard members, as well as the other branches of the military.
“I left Iraq with the greatest of appreciation not only for all five branches of the military but also the amount of time and dedication every person over there has for the mission to be successful,” said Draughon. “Upon arriving, I quickly understood the importance of the mission and while on my first official mission it dawned on me that this mission was more about helping people than anything else and that just motivated me. ”
After completing his overseas tour, Draughon was given orders to report to MSU Texas City. After landing at the Houston Hobby airport, he was bombarded by family and friends.
Among the friends and family were members of MSU Texas City including Cmdr. James Robertson, the commanding officer of MSU Texas City.
“MK1 Draughon and I served together in Iraq. I saw the leadership qualities and “Can-Do” spirit from our initial meeting in Basrah,” said Roberston. “Those qualities grew and emerged as we worked together. As a leader, I would be remiss if I was not trying to stack the odds in my favor so when the opportunity presented itself to have him on my staff, I seized it.”
“I am honored to have MK1 Draughon as a member of my staff,” stated Robertson. “I have seen firsthand what he can accomplish and I know the skills he brings to Marine Safety Unit Texas City will be critical to our future success.”