It’s not every day a Coast Guardsman gets a call from the President, but today two members can say they did. President Barack Obama called 10 members of the armed forces to thank them for their service to our nation and wish them a happy Thanksgiving.
Seaman Julian Cubides was aboard Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin when he received the call. He was thrilled saying, “Its not every day you get to speak to the President while on patrol. I can’t wait to tell my family!”
Cubides spoke with the President for several minutes and was recognized for his instrumental role in the crew’s recent successes. Cubides works within the law enforcement division while also maintaining his duties in the deck division. His command calls him one of the most, if not the most, valuable members aboard when it comes to their counter-drug mission, due to his boarding experiences and Spanish-speaking skills. While he is junior in rank, Cubides has taken charge of evolutions with the demeanor equivalent to that of more senior member in both knowledge and professionalism.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Emmanuel Atilano also received a call aboard Coast Guard Cutter Legare. Atilano, an electronics technician, has served in the Coast Guard for eight years. He is responsible for maintaining the cutter’s communication, navigation and infrared systems in support of a broad range of Coast Guard missions, including drug interdiction, search and rescue and enforcement of laws and treaties.
In addition to his role as an electronics technician, he is also a boarding team member. Atilano has been a boarding team member during five maritime cocaine seizures in an 18-month period totaling approximately 5.5 metric tons.
Atilano is no stranger to deployments and the father of five is on his seventh deployment in three years. He acknowledged being away from family, particularly during the holidays, is tough, but was grateful for the recognition from his commander in chief.
“It was an honor to receive a call from the President. Being away from home and family is never easy, especially around the holidays, but a gesture like the one I received from the President shows that he acknowledges our commitments and sacrifices, and that acknowledgment is much appreciated,” said Atilano after the call.
Atilano and Cubides are just two of thousands of servicemembers currently deployed in defense of our nation. As you celebrate Thanksgiving, take a moment to remember those who are not home with their loved ones and have a very happy Thanksgiving.