Hawaii’s second biggest island, Maui, is known for its dazzling sun and striking coastline. But for many in the Coast Guard, a trip to Maui will take you far from Hawaiian waters, halfway around the world, to the Middle East.
For the men and women aboard Coast Guard Cutter Maui, one of six Island-class patrol boats deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Maui takes on a whole new meaning as they build maritime stability and security in the region.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Garett Brada is one of Maui’s crewmembers and became a lead component in building maritime stability in the Arabian Gulf, a place where operations are particularly demanding and unlike anywhere else in the world.
An engineer aboard Maui, Brada qualified in positions that involved all facets of cutter life including: engineer of the watch, small boat engineer, boarding officer, crane operator and boat deck supervisor. From running the ship’s engine to boarding vessels, Brada’s commitment to the mission underpinned the cutter’s operational success.
As Brada strengthened the crew and supported the mission, he spent his days underway in Iraqi territorial waters, helping defend Iraq’s oil terminals – which provide more than 90 percent of Iraq’s gross domestic product – against external waterborne threats.
He was also a crucial participant in the U.S. Coast Guard’s first-ever patrol boat visit to Karachi, Pakistan. During the groundbreaking five-day multinational naval exercise, hosted by Pakistan, he worked with 12 participating countries and 28 observer nations to hone skills such as boat operations, maritime law enforcement tactics and search and rescue.
Leveraging his qualifications and expertise, Brada helped build partnerships and capabilities with Pakistan’s Coast Guard. While his interactions were minor, his impact was vast; the relationships he forged formed the cornerstone for long-term international cooperation in the region.
“Abidingly devoted to his duties, eternally sunny and mature beyond his years, Petty Officer Brada is an exceptional representative of the Coast Guard and its mission in Southwest Asia,” said Lt. Heather Bacon-Shone, Maui’s commanding officer.
His dedication to the mission allowed the crew to excel and has not gone unnoticed. Brada was presented with the USO’s “Spirit of Service” Award last month during the 19th Annual USO Service Salute at Ramstein Air Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The sole Coast Guardsman being honored, Brada did what any leader would do – he thanked his team.
“Receiving this award was humbling, and being there with fellow American and German servicemembers was an honor,” said Brada after the ceremony. “It was a great reminder that hard work is noticed and recognized, but I realize that this wouldn’t have been possible without everyone else aboard Maui and at PATFORSWA.”