Guardian of the Week – MK3 Carlos Camacho

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MK3 Carlos Camacho is the winner of the 2009 Paul Clark Engineering Award. Photo by PA3 Nick Ameen
MK3 Carlos Camacho is the winner of the 2009 Paul Clark Engineering Award. Photo by PA3 Nick Ameen

Post written by PA3 Nick Ameen

One of the truly unique attributes of the Coast Guard is how much faith it will put in its junior members and, in turn, how much they are often able to accomplish.  MK3 Carlos Camacho became an expert on the service’s newest class of boats, the Response Boat-Medium, even though he’s only just left his first unit in the Coast Guard, Station Key West.

“He is one of the most knowledgeable RB-M engineers in the Coast Guard,” said CWO3 Todd Stoughton, commander of Station Key West. “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 explained that he plans to bring a lot to the table when he arrives at his next unit: 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,” said Camacho.

Camacho’s actions speak louder than his words. While stationed in Key West, he managed to give more than two-dozen EMT training sessions to various Coast Guard Sector Key West personnel, resulting in 67 members receiving their CPR certification.

He speaks two languages. Born and raised in Cali, Colombia, his native tongue is Spanish. His duties as the Spanish interpreter have been critical in successful alien migrant interdiction operations, including the safe transfer of undocumented migrants and the fast apprehension of suspected smugglers. His mastery of the Spanish language has aided in diffusing stressful situations in the waters off Key West, which is a mere 90 miles north of Cuba.

One thing is certain: Stoughton is impressed.

“Out there on the water, Carlos Camacho is a superstar,” said Stoughton. “He has demonstrated maturity beyond his years, and he has the ability to communicate effectively in high-stress situations.”

It easy to understand why Camacho won the Fireman First Class Paul Clark Boat Forces Engineering Award for 2009.

In the three commands Stoughton has held, Camacho is only the second MK he’s nominated for the award. He said that seeing Camacho recognized for his performance gives him faith in the system. There were 15 other nominees throughout the Coast Guard, most of whom were first class petty officers.

“I’ve had a lot of great people, a lot of great MKs,” said Stoughton. “But, honestly, he deserved it. I wouldn’t have put him in if he didn’t, and that’s how I feel.”

Camacho serves as an interpretter while responding to a SAR case.  Photo Courtesy Station Key West
Camacho serves as an interpreter while responding to a SAR case. Photo Courtesy Station Key West

Do you know a Coastie that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations for Guardian of the Week using the submit link on the right.

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