Written by Petty Officer 1st Class Lauren Jorgensen, Coast Guard 9th District public affairs specialist.
When Petty Officer 3rd Class Timothy Mirandi passed his check-ride May 19, 2011, it was the final step to becoming a qualified small-boat coxswain at a Coast Guard station. He knew it was the start of an exciting career responding to distress calls and saving lives, but little did he know that it would start so soon.
The crew at Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, stays well employed – averaging 200 search-and-rescue cases and more than 700 vessel-safety boardings each year on Lake Erie. On Mirandi’s first weekend as a qualified boat coxswain, he witnessed that fact firsthand.
In a 72-hour period, he was repeatedly challenged putting his finely tuned skills and first-rate training to test. He safely maneuvered the 47-foot Motor Life Boat, leading his boatcrew in response to seven distress calls and spending more than 24 hours underway that weekend. Of those seven calls, three were dire enough to be considered “bell-ringers”, the most time-critical maritime emergencies.
One case involved three people on a boat in danger of sinking. Mirandi and his crew rushed to the scene, ensured all three people made it safely off the vessel and worked quickly alongside a salvage company to stop the flooding and plug the hole, effectively saving the boat.
“BM3 Mirandi is one of the best coxswains I’ve ever served with,” said Chief Warrant Officer Sean McCarthy, Mirandi’s commanding officer at Station Marblehead. “He worked tirelessly to become a coxswain and although he was already a good leader, becoming a coxswain made him an even better leader.”
Coming from a seasoned Coast Guard member like McCarthy, this is a huge compliment to any member let alone a recently qualified junior member.
“I was excited and a little nervous the first time I pulled the boat away from the pier as the coxswain,” said Mirandi. “But I realized that if Mr. McCarthy trusted me to operate it, I should trust myself.”
McCarthy and the Sector Detroit commander, Capt. Jeff Ogden, recently presented Mirandi with the Lucien M. Clemons Boat Crewman Award. This honor is bestowed semiannually to a Coast Guard member within Sector Detroit’s area of responsibility whose seamanship, leadership afloat and operational actions best epitomize the Coast Guard’s standards for boat crewmen.
Mirandi’s extraordinarily busy first weekend and continued displays of outstanding leadership propelled him above the competition to earn the Clemons award, said McCarthy, who was among all of the Sector Detroit station commanding officers and officers in charge responsible for selecting the award recipient.
Mirandi, 23, said he was surprised to receive the award and showed his humility when he said he believed the entire crew of Station Marblehead deserved the honor. He also gave credit for his achievement to his many mentors at the station.
The award’s namesake was the first recipient of the Gold Lifesaving Medal and the first keeper of the U.S. Lifesaving Service in Marblehead, one of the earliest lifesaving stations on the Great Lakes. Mirandi is the first Coast Guardsman assigned to Station Marblehead to earn the award since its inception in 2007.
McCarthy said he’s proud of Mirandi for honoring the Coast Guard’s past and his profession so well.
“It’s amazing that 135 years after Lucien Clemons served at Station Marblehead, people like BM3 Mirandi continue to do the same job here and display exceptional leadership to save lives,” McCarthy said.