Maintaining navigational aids essential to the safety of Southern Californians is the crew at Aids to Navigation Team San Diego. With just five active duty members the unit is responsible for navigational aids in the San Diego area that serve as a constant vigil for safeguarding those on the water – from the sailor to the cruise ship passenger.
With such a small crew, the unit relies on three reservists who are assigned there for larger operations and to assist with daily missions. With such a small team guiding mariners, each person’s contributions are hugely important. But perhaps no one does it with as much pride as Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Dalager.
“MK2 Dalager is as proud to be a member of the Coast Guard as anyone I have ever known. He resonates the attributes that define a good shipmate, and he truly inspires us all,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Tapp, officer-in-charge of ANT San Diego.
As a reservist, Dalager helps maintain the aids in the area, but also works with the crews when they are further from home. Many times a year, the station deploys crewmembers to the Colorado River basin in Arizona and Nevada. The crews helps with safety in areas popular with recreational boaters, particularly Lake Havasu, Ariz.
“Petty Officer Dalager consistently volunteers to contribute to any need, often before I have an opportunity to ask, and gives everything his 100 percent. He is a model of our core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty,” said Tapp.
During these high operational periods, Dalager has volunteered and augmented the active duty crew. With his fellow crewmembers, Dalager enforces safety zones around boat races and assists with safety boardings on the lake.
These missions are anything but routine, however, and keep the crews on high alert. Some of the marine events occurring in the basin draw crowds in the tens of thousands. One annual marine event drew 30,000 people to the Colorado River. Dalager was an invaluable addition to the crews, helping to spot persons in distress and help enforce safety above all else.
Dalager is proud of his work at the station and considers it an honor to serve alongside his shipmates. He also showcases this pride in a unique way – he sings!
When not on duty, Dalager performs the National Anthem on behalf of the Coast Guard. He performs these events on a volunteer basis, appearing over the past five years as a singer at USO-sponsored celebrations, professional sporting events and military ceremonies.
From singing in front of fans of their hometown team, the San Diego Padres, to performing at sold out events supporting veterans, Dalager’s pride in service and country is unmatched. In front of thousands, Dalager showcases the Coast Guard’s relationship and commitment to protecting Americans.
Tapp has heard him sing the National Anthem while representing the Coast Guard many times, and no matter where he is at, those seated near him are left in awe.
“MK2 Dalager is a bright and shining star,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominic Estes, ANT San Diego’s engineering petty officer. “Whether he’s singing the National Anthem in front of 40,000 people or deploying in support of maritime safety and security, MK2 Dalager exemplifies the long standing traditions and core values of today’s Coast Guard.”