Despite being the smallest of America’s armed services, the Coast Guard prides itself on the caliber of the men and women who wear its uniform or serve as civilians. Coast Guard leadership knows that successfully carrying out the service’s 11 statutory missions goes beyond providing our people with the best resources and assets available. Our success as a service depends on a highly trained and educated workforce.
Every military, civilian and auxiliary member of the service is provided training and educational opportunities that aid not only in their performance of Coast Guard missions but also the achievement of their career goals. While each member of the organization shares the responsibility for ensuring the workforce is fully capable to perform the jobs and tasks required for each unique mission, one person who helps make this happen is the Educational Services Officer.
John Burchfield – the ESO for Coast Guard Sector Detroit, epitomizes the commitment to his Shipmates that has made the ESO program so successful across the service. Burchfield has taken a leading role in efforts to shape the servicewide educational services program while also supporting approximately 700 personnel in obtaining and completing educational programs and courses at 16 units stretching more than 16,000 square miles.
Establishing a balance between mission readiness and professional development is a challenge for many servicemembers and sometimes prevents them from considering furthering their education. In an effort to encourage participation in the program, Burchfield coordinates monthly visits by college and university representatives to the cutters and stations throughout the sector in an effort to highlight the opportunities available to the workforce. He also obtains and administers the Master 100 ton exam to those members desiring to enhance their qualifications with this advanced license.
To fully understand the training needs and pressures faced by personnel in the field, Burchfield regularly visits units and has gotten underway with Coast Guard Cutters Bristol Bay and Mackinaw to administer training and advancement exams. Burchfield also serves as a vice-commander for Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 20-19 out of Mt. Clemens, Mich., where he has logged 40 hours of underway time on Lake St. Clair and coordinated more than 120 vessel examinations.
“Mr. John Burchfield truly stands out as a proud member of the Coast Guard family through his 22 years of military experience, broad depth of knowledge in the education field, and as a well respected member of Sector Detroit,” said L.t. j.g. Lauren Flint, assistant chief of logistics for Sector Detroit. “He is a mentor to junior Coast Guard members and spares no opportunity to advertise the education opportunities that are available. He stands out because Education Services Officer it is more than just a job for him, it a duty that he willingly fulfills to improve the quality of the Coast Guard as a whole.”