On February 20, Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Karl Schultz, meritoriously advanced Emily Ford to the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class during the State of the Coast Guard Address, from Charleston, South Carolina. The honor was a surprise for PO Ford as U.S. Embassy Nassau hosted a watch party of the announcement. U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers, Commander Mike Benson, Coast Guard Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) Director, Coast Guard Liaison Officer Justin Matejka, and the entire Nassau-based U.S. Coast Guard team were on hand for the surprise advancement ceremony.
Ford, a storekeeper stationed at OPBAT, is a mission support expert who was instrumental in facilitating the whole-of-Coast Guard response during Hurricane Dorian. At the center of the Coast Guard’s Hurricane Dorian response in The Bahamas, Ford played a vital role coordinating logistics and triage for helicopter crews responding in the storm’s wake. Ford was described as the “connective tissue” between OPBAT Bahamas, the aircrews and Bahamian authorities. She went above and beyond all expectations enabling the rescue of hundreds and impacting many more lives.
Dorian struck as the strongest category five hurricane on record to make landfall in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. More than 900 Coast Guardsmen, nine cutters, and 32 aircraft mobilized to deliver desperately needed aid and assistance. This resulted in 198 sorties to answer 1,388 search and rescue calls, ultimately saving or assisting the lives of 457 people.
The Coast Guard’s Meritorious Advancement Program allows for a district commander to select and meritoriously advance the most talented people in the Coast Guard. Meritorious advancement is one way the Coast Guard can honor an individual’s embodiment of the core values – Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty.