Maintaining aids to navigation essential to the Pacific Northwest’s major shipping ports, including Coos Bay, Portland and Seattle, are the men and women aboard Coast Guard Cutter Fir.
But like all Coast Guard cutters, Fir does more than just the one mission; meaning it’s crew has to be ready for anything. Perhaps no one best understands the multi-mission needs of Fir than the auxiliary division. Traditionally called “A-gang” by crewmembers, the auxiliary division has the most diverse sets of responsibilities aboard a ship.
As a member of the auxiliary division, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Jordan is responsible for the operation, upkeep and maintenance of all machinery outside of the engine room. For a 225-foot buoy tender, that’s a lot of equipment. From steering hydraulic power units for the buoy deck’s crane to the cutter’s two small boats, and even every valve throughout the ship, there is no end in site for what needs Jordan’s attention.
Jordan’s work is also necessary to keep daily life comfortable for the crew as he maintains refrigeration equipment, heating and cooling equipment and the reverse osmosis desalination unit – a fancy name for the system providing fresh water for the crew.
With this dizzying array of equipment and specialty knowledge required for each system, Jordan remains focused on expertise.
“Petty Officer Jordan has a broad spectrum of knowledge to prevent and correct problems on our shipboard systems,” said Lt. Elaine Cherry, the ship’s executive office. “His enthusiasm is contagious and it’s very obvious not only that he knows his stuff, but also that the crew has a lot of respect for him.”
Despite his responsibility in keeping all of the ship’s systems outside the engine room working, Jordan is also qualified as an engineer of the watch, small boat crewman and engineer. As a member of the ship’s small boat crew, Jordan mentors his shipmates with experience gained from past units.
“He’s a great teacher to all the break-in crewmembers. He brings his experiences from past units to this one and teaches so others can grasp the concepts,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Devin Schweikart, one of Fir’s boat coxswains.
Jordan’s hard work recently paid off as he advanced from second to first class petty officer. The well-earned advancement comes with a significant jump in expectations in terms of leadership and technical proficiency. But it’s nothing Jordan can’t handle. As fellow crewmember Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Cornelison simply stated, Jordan “is what a shipmate should be.”