Written by Petty Officer Second Class Walter Shinn.
Success is a positive outcome that comes as a result of an individual or collective effort.
Every day, the Coast Guard promotes successful outcomes in conducting its missions all over the world through the tireless and dedicated work ethic of its people—Coast Guardsmen.
For Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Hamilton, personal and professional success is directly tied to how he invests in others to succeed even if it means going above and beyond, and spending the extra time.
“My father used to tell me you can’t teach success, it has to be earned,” said Hamilton, a machinery technician aboard the Portsmouth-based Coast Guard Cutter Forward. “Nothing makes me happier than helping a shipmate succeed.”
To encourage a strong work ethic, Hamilton consistently demonstrates leadership skills as a member of the damage control training team in addition to his primary responsibilities maintaining heavy machinery to keep the cutter cruising at sea. Throughout dozens of training drills he provides realistic training scenarios that effectively challenged repair parties to respond to fire, flooding and damage. When the 40 newest crew members reported to the cutter, he sacrificed a significant amount of his personal time to coach and tutor them to qualify as damage control team members.
By helping others succeed through patient coaching and teaching those skills he learned and earned himself; Hamilton wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When I was a fireman, my supervisor told me there are two types of people in the Coast Guard; you have the type that can skip rungs on the ladder and make it to the top and succeed or you have someone like me who has to hit every rung on the way up,” said Hamilton. “I always tell myself no one works for me, everyone works with me and I never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.”
Part of Hamilton’s exceptional leadership is displaying a positive approach and willingness to work extra responsibilities to ensure mission success. In addition to routine machinery maintenance, he worked as the primary inspector for critical equipment repairs to include included the waterborne installation of shaft packing to fin stabilizers, the reverse osmosis desalination plant, the cutter’s response boat, Welin Lambie davit and the JP-5 fueling system. He also was the maintenance contract inspector for a helicopter hangar overhaul, potable water tank preservation, fin stabilizer upgrade and chillwater pump upgrade. Hamilton’s extra time, effort and attention to detail resulted in Forward’s 100 percent preventative maintenance completion rate.
His exceptional work ethic earned him recognition from the Hampton Roads Cuttermen Association as the first ever Enlisted Cutterman of the Year.
“Awards promote esprit de corps, reinforce service standards and encourage performance,” said Cmdr. Mark Gordon, vice president of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Cuttermen Association. “The Hampton Roads Chapter believes this inaugural, annual award helps bring attention to the difficult and challenging work cuttermen may take for granted because they do it so routinely.”
The crew of Forward has enjoyed many successes through Hamilton’s selfless contributions to building unit cohesion. In displaying an exceptional work ethic supporting mission success, Hamilton exemplifies the spirit of “Semper Paratus.”