Written by Lt. Nate Mackenzie, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Washington.
When Seaman Thomas Sconiers, lead seaman aboard Coast Guard Cutter Washington, says he has been in the Coast Guard “all me bloomin’ life” he means it. His father, Thomas Sconiers Sr., is a chief warrant officer having risen through the ranks as an electronics technician. As a young boy, Sconiers lived in nearly every major Coast Guard town in the country, from Kodiak, Alaska, to Mobile, Ala. Hearing his father and family friends talk about their adventures as a boy, he decided to follow in their wake. However, he only plans to follow his father so far – Sconiers hopes to become a boatswain’s mate, not an electronics technician.
This difference in desired career path probably has something to do with his experiences since boot camp. Having been aboard Washington for just over a year, Sconiers has sailed the entire length of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and made stops at remote islands like Maug, a collapsed volcano, and Pagan, an active volcano and former Japanese Stronghold during World War II.
His days underway have been spent navigating the ship as quartermaster of the watch, manning the bridge during nighttime law enforcement operations to stop illegal fishing, driving the ship’s small boat and training to become a law enforcement boarding team member.
“Seaman Sconiers has far exceeded our expectations. As a very young and junior member, he has already stepped up to fill a crucial vacancy in deck department and is currently performing at the level expected of a petty officer,” said Lt. j.g. Tim Ozimek, the ship’s executive officer.
In the other direction from Guam, he delivered humanitarian supplies in Ulithi Atoll, dove with sharks and manta rays in Yap and met a U.S. ambassador while in Palau. Between both operational and humanitarian missions, the islands provided a chance for Sconiers to exhibit his athletic abilities and he has been dubbed “Scuba Sconiers” by his shipmates due to his exceptional free diving abilities.
As the lead seaman, Sconiers has led the deck department through an exciting few months. He built esprit de corps by taking the initiative to get the ship’s seal mounted on the flag box and took charge when the deck department was left without any petty officers during transfer season.
Sconiers was recently named the unit’s sailor of the quarter for his exceptional performance, but he still hopes to achieve much more with his career. Sconiers is already living up to his Coast Guard heritage and, at only 19 years old, he has plenty of time to forge his own path. He recently visited the Coast Guard Academy as part of the Academy Enlisted Selection Opportunity Program and is considering applying for admission to the class of 2019.
Whichever path he chooses to take, Sconiers has started in the right direction and represents the very best both the service and the United States of America has to offer.
“His exceptional performance aboard one of the Coast Guard’s most remote and autonomous patrol boats highlights what makes the Coast Guard so great: our ability to recognize and reward potential in our people, regardless of rank or seniority,” said Ozimek.