Guardian of the Week – EM2 Charles T. Newton

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It is always very exciting and rewarding when Guardians are publicly recognized for their hard work and dedication. Last night, Electrician’s Mate (EM) Second Class Charles T. Newton was awarded the 2009 Navy Times Coast Guardsman of the Year during a formal ceremony on Capitol Hill.

To be selected as a Military Times Media Group Service Member of the Year, the member must demonstrate pride, dedication and courage beyond what is expected and show concern for their fellow service members, their community and the country they serve.

For Petty Officer Newton, it all started when he made the decision to join the Coast Guard four years ago. After a turbulent and difficult youth, he made a pledge to change his path in life. From then on, it was full speed ahead for Petty Officer Newton. “I started looking at the way I was going. Once I made that commitment [to change], I was determined.”

Petty Officer Newton’s entire career is full of accomplishments and high accolade. Throughout 2008 while he was stationed onboard the USCGC NEAH BAY in Cleveland, Ohio, Petty Officer Newton went above and beyond the call of duty. Here are just a few of the highlights from his award.

  • He served as inspector for a prototype $750K main propulsion console upgrade, which required him to work 10-hour days, six days a week for nearly two months during the installation. His professionalism and pride ensured the successful upgrade, which proved to be a reliable operating system for the eight remaining cutters in the 140-foot Bay-class fleet. He also assisted in evaluating and refining a training program for future installations.
  • During a busy summer 2008 transfer season onboard the NEAH BAY where two-thirds of the ship’s crew changed out, Petty Officer Newton put in extra hours helping to bring the new crew up to speed. He worked closely with the new Chief EM during four major shipboard electrical casualties and held regular training sessions to help his new shipmates qualify as Inport Watchstanders, Inport Officers of the Day, and Underway Oilers.
  • He assisted NEAH BAY’s Machinery Technicians in completing the center section overhaul of the Ship’s Service Diesel Generator, troubleshooting problems on both boilers, repairing plumbing fixtures and cleaning bilges (a job most crewmembers would run away from).
  • He revamped the ship’s inventory control and compliance program freeing up valuable storage space onboard and saving $9,700 by reducing the unneeded parts inventory, returning excess parts to depot-level inventory, conducting a wall-to-wall inventory and consolidating parts.
  • He organized NEAH BAY’s regular volunteer efforts for Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, resulting in the crew donating more than 325 man-hours.
  • He organized a very successful Red Cross blood drive in honor of his mentor, a former Chief Electrician’s Mate, who was diagnosed with leukemia. The blood drive generated 36 donations (180% of the expected turnout) and potentially saved 108 lives.
  • He was selected as the Enlisted Person of the Year for the Ninth Coast Guard District, Navy League Cleveland Council Sailor of the Year, and Neah Bay Sailor of the Quarter for third quarter.

To read the full citation, click here.

Petty Officer Newton transferred to Sector Boston last month where I am sure he will enjoy having a shore-side regular schedule to spend time with his wife, Irisha, son, Charles Javion, and newborn daughter, Cassidy. Before he left Cleveland, Newton had already contacted the Red Cross chapter in Boston to volunteer for disaster relief. He also hopes to finish college and eventually go to Officer Candidate School.

We congratulate you Petty Officer Newton and thank-you for your hard work and dedication to duty.


Two other Guardians received honorable mention for their service; AMT2 Jacob Marks from Air Station Humboldt Bay, California and MST1 Hubert Wells from Maritime Safety and Security Team Alameda, California. Service members from the other branches of the armed services are also selected including the Navy Sailor of the Year, Marine of the Year, Soldier of the Year, and Airman of the Year.

Winners of the Military Times Media Group Service members of the Year Awards receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to Washington, DC for activities and a formal awards ceremony, recognition at a formal awards reception and ceremony, an after-party on Capitol Hill, a luncheon with Military Times Media Group editors and reporters, a tour of the publishing company and newspaper printing plant, professional photographs and video of the awards ceremony, a feature in the Military Times Media Group newspapers and story on the Military Times Media Group Service Members of the Year Web site.

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