Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Carlos Vega.
The Coast Guard Cutter Greenbrier, homeported in Natchez, Miss., follows a star with strong leadership. This northern star guides the crew of the Greenbrier towards a safer tomorrow, and safe mission execution.
Petty Officer 1st Class Eli North is the north star of the Greenbrier and has won the hearts of his crew in the one year he has spent as a deck supervisor. He ensures the safety of his crewmembers by keeping a close watch on their operations and providing proper guidance and direction. He also maintains additional responsibilities as the first lieutenant, training petty officer, weapons petty officer and participates in the morale committee.
“He is the calmest, most well tempered, best leader of his group that I have ever worked with,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Barry Wildman, a foodservice specialist on the Greenbrier.
Even after regular work hours North selflessly helps his shipmates with his multiple tradesman abilities.
“He is the best shipmate; he is the one that is working weekends with everyone. If you need a hand, he is there,” said Wildman. “Almost every weekend he is doing something with someone. Whether it’s using his truck to pick up wood or assisting someone repair their home.”
North built the unit a gazebo, made his shipmate a shed out of palettes and provided another shipmate furniture when he first came to the unit and was awaiting household goods.
“He cares about this boat; he cares about the crew,” said Seaman David Smith, a crewmember on the Greenbrier.
North is a vital resource to the Coast Guard and to his shipmates. His guidance ensures buoys are in their optimum position making the channel as wide and safe as possible.
Aids to navigation is dangerous work. The Greenbrier uses cranes to move heavy buoys and marking stones, which if not properly secured could hurt someone. North uses the Coast Guard’s general assessment of risk model, or GAR – a safety assessment tool that evaluates the mission danger and complexity – to keep his crew safe.
“He pays close attention to the GAR model and keeps us all in the green,” said Smith. “He makes sure everyone is hydrated and no one is fatigued.”
North is looked up to by the junior members of the Greenbrier.
“He is always willing to help, always looking to build you up and always looks out for your safety,” said Seaman David Norton, a crewmember on the Greenbrier. “I enjoy every day I come to work with him.”
As the training petty officer North teaches junior crew members how to perform their duties safely and efficiently.
North dedicates himself to the Greenbrier and its crew whether on or off duty. His presence and leadership is respected and admired. He is the Greenbrier’s North star.