A chemist. A forensic autopsy technician. A health services technician. Petty Officer 1st Class William M. Hilt is not your average Coast Guardsman. He is one of the thousands of dedicated professionals who bring their unique skills and excellence to the Coast Guard Reserve.
A member of Port Security Unit 312, Hilt provides medical support ensuring his unit is ready to conduct vital port security missions as part of military and humanitarian operations worldwide. The unit, based out of San Francisco, is just one of the Coast Guard’s deployable specialized forces; required to be air deployable within 96 hours of call up and self-sufficient for 30 days once deployed.
“Petty Officer Hilt’s extensive work was absolutely critical during PSU 312’s challenging pre-deployment ramp-up efforts,” said Cmdr. David Menchaca, commanding officer of PSU 312. “Given an extremely tight five-day period, Petty Officer Hilt executed and processed 140 separate pre-deployment health assessments, prioritized them based upon a complex training timeline, created an intricate tool to track completion and organized an all-encompassing immunization and dental program that ensured each unit member was appropriately screened and fully deployment ready.”
Upon arriving in the Middle East, PSU 312 joined the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron Two to form Commander Task Group 56.5. Together, they provided maritime anti-terrorism and force protection to high-value maritime assets in Kuwait and Iraq.
Nowhere are sustained operations more important than on the front line, and Hilt’s ability to communicate with department heads and medical staff ensured servicemembers received appropriate health assessments and immunizations well before deadlines, leading to medical readiness at or near 100 percent for the duration of their seven-month deployment. Hilt knew that members of the unit needed to focus on getting the mission done and designed a system that supplied his superiors with medical projections allowing ample time to order and receive supplies, which ensured the continual operational effectiveness of the unit.
While he performed all of his duties exceptionally, it was his work outside of his normal work hours that those who know him best find nothing short of remarkable. Hilt lent his expertise to his Navy counterparts and assumed the duties of supply petty officer for the task group’s medical division. Showcasing the unique skills reservists bring to every military service, Hilt used his knowledge as a chemistry major to reorganize examination rooms and implement an enhanced pharmaceutical supply management system. Through these initiatives, Hilt and his fellow corpsmen were better able to provide essential care throughout the deployment.
His actions and work ethic have established him as a mentor for health services technicians and a leader amongst Navy and Coast Guard corpsmen. Hilt was honored with the First Quarter Junior Sailor of the Quarter for Combined Task Group 56.5.
“Petty Officer Hilt has demonstrated through his performance that he wants, more than anything else, to contribute in real ways to Coast Guard missions and to the Coast Guard team by not only bringing his Coast Guard competencies to the organization but also a diversity of civilian skills,” remarked Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve Force Mark Allen.
Equipped with six high-speed, 25-foot boats armed with machine guns, PSU 312 is prepared to defend ships and harbors from threats. But, the members of the unit remain at the ready because of Hilt’s devotion to duty and the dedication of the thousands of support personnel on the front line providing essential quality medical care to their brothers and sisters in arms.
Bravo Zulu Petty Officer Hilt, for being selected as the Coast Guard’s Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year!