Face of Defense: Coast Guard ‘Superstar’ Wins Coveted Award
By Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen
U.S. Coast Guard Station Key West
U.S. COAST GUARD STATION KEY WEST, Fla., July 19, 2010 Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Camacho became an expert on his service’s newest class of boats and earned a prestigious award during his first-ever tour-of-duty here.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Camacho is the winner of the 2009 Fireman First Class Paul Clark Boat Forces Engineering Award. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nick Ameen
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
One of the Coast Guard’s unique attributes, Chief Warrant Officer Todd Stoughton, commander of Coast Guard Station Key West, said, is the large amount of responsibility his organization gives to its junior members and, in turn, how much those junior members routinely accomplish.
Camacho, he said, worked hard to become an expert on the new Response Boat-Medium.
“He is one of the most knowledgeable RB-M engineers in the Coast Guard,” Stoughton said of Camacho. “He read the manual cover-to-cover and found dozens of mistakes and made many recommendations that ended up becoming part of the actual manual.”
Camacho plans to bring a lot to the table when he arrives at his next duty station: his integrity, his work ethic, and his willingness to learn what he needs to know.
“I am one of those people that completely believes in the fact that knowledge is power; the more I know about something, the better I’m gonna be at it,” Camacho said.
While at Key West Camacho also provided more than two-dozen emergency medical training sessions to Coast Guard personnel, resulting in 67 members receiving life-saving certifications.
Camacho also speaks Spanish, having been born and raised in Cali, Colombia. Camacho’s duties as the Spanish interpreter at the Key West station have been critical in successful illegal migrant interdiction operations, including the safe transfer of undocumented migrants and the apprehension of suspected smugglers, Stoughton said.
“Out there on the water, Carlos Camacho is a superstar,” Stoughton said. “He has demonstrated maturity beyond his years, and he has the ability to communicate effectively in high-stress situations.”
In light of Camacho’s abilities and drive, it’s perhaps easy to understand why he also won the Fireman First Class Paul Clark Boat Forces Engineering Award for 2009. The prestigious annual award recognizes a Coast Guard boat forces engineer who demonstrated sustained superior performance, exception technical skills, and exemplary leadership.
Stoughton said Camacho is only the second similarly ranked individual he has nominated for the award.
Fifteen other nominees from throughout the Coast Guard competed for the award that Camacho ultimately won, said Stoughton, noting that most of the competitors were higher-ranking first class petty officers.
“I’ve had a lot of great people,” Stoughton said. “But, honestly, he deserved it. I wouldn’t have put him in [for the competition] if he didn’t, and that’s how I feel.”