Sen. Carper Recognizes U.S. Coast Guard Members on the Senate Floor

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, earlier this week, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, took to the Senate floor to highlight the outstanding public service of U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Joscelyn Greenwell as well as Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Award for Valor recipients, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Maxwell “Max” Kaczmarek, Petty Officer Christopher “Chris” Leon and Petty Officer Matthew Worden. The speech was part of Sen. Carper’s ongoing efforts to highlight the exemplary work of a DHS employee each month.

His speech, as prepared for delivery, is below:


“Mr. President – Over the past few months, I’ve been coming to the floor to recognize the work of a few of the many outstanding employees at the Department of Homeland Security.


“There are over 200,000 men and women who work at the Department across its 22 components. They secure our borders and skies. They respond to natural disasters. They protect us in cyber space. Few other federal agencies touch the lives of Americans on a daily basis more than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Although the jobs they do every day may be diverse, all DHS employees go to work with one critical mission: to ensure that our country is a safe, secure and resilient place where the American way of life can thrive.


“Today, I rise to recognize the outstanding service of several officers from the United States Coast Guard. As a law enforcement agency and one of our nation’s five Armed Services, the Coast Guard has safeguarded our interests on the high seas for over two centuries.


“The thousands of brave men and women who honorably serve our nation at the Coast Guard dedicate their lives to its many important missions. These missions range from maritime law enforcement and military operations to search and rescue and environmental protection.


“Last month, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recognized three individuals from the Coast Guard for their valor: Petty Officer Max Kaczmarek; Petty Officer Chris Leon; and Petty Officer Matthew Worden. These brave individuals have each demonstrated outstanding courage in the face of perilous circumstances, acting selflessly and without hesitation to render lifesaving aid to their fellow Americans. Simply put, they were – in the words of the Coast Guard motto – Semper Paratus – ‘Always Ready.’


“I want to extend my congratulations to Officers Kaczmarek, Leon, and Worden and all the recipients of this year’s DHS Valor awards. These devoted public servants are an inspiration for all of us and I encourage my colleagues to learn more about their heroic stories.


“For the 42,000 active duty Coastguardsmen, their mission may take them to ports and waterways across our country and around the globe. For Petty Officer Joscelyn Greenwell, her service with the Coast Guard has taken her from California to Hawaii to my home state of Delaware.


“Originally from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Petty Officer Greenwell has served our country for over seven years at three different Coast Guard units. She first spent three years on the High Endurance Cutter Hamilton, home ported in San Diego, California.


“While aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, Petty Officer Greenwell was one of our many brave service members assigned to provide disaster relief following the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake. In Haiti, Petty Officer Greenwell and her fellow crew members transported clean drinking water and other resources to the island to save lives. She received a Unit Commendation award for her outstanding efforts in that mission. After her time in San Diego, Petty Officer Greenwell spent two years aboard the Patrol Boat Galveston Island, home ported in Honolulu, Hawaii.


“Today, Petty Officer Greenwell calls Lewes, Delaware her home and now serves at the Station Indian River Inlet in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. With summer in full swing, Delawareans and people from across the country are flocking to our state’s pristine five-star beaches. Thankfully, day and night, Petty Officer Greenwell and her crew stand a diligent watch over parts of the Delaware Bay, Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. We Delawareans can rest assured that Petty Officer Greenwell and her unit stand ready to answer our call, if ever we ever need their assistance.


“According to her superiors, Petty Officer Greenwell takes ownership of her responsibilities and is committed to the safety of the public. Her colleagues say that she always goes above and beyond what’s expected of her. For example, in addition to her usual responsibilities, Petty Officer Greenwell received her certification as a boat operator, or Coxswain, in just one year – a process that normally takes about 18 months. Her colleagues say that she demonstrated an outstanding level of skill and professionalism throughout the rigorous certification process.


“Petty Officer Greenwell also serves as a mentor to junior personnel and has assisted multiple shipmates in receiving their qualifications as watch standers, boat crew members, boarding team members, and coxswains. Petty Officer Greenwell’s commitment to her team and the public she serves every day truly exemplify the Coast Guard’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.


“Petty Officer Greenwell, your service to our nation has taken you around the world. I know you will continue to go far in all of your endeavors. Every day, you help to ensure the safety of your fellow Americans and the security of our nation. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your tireless dedication and invaluable service to the state and the nation that we call home.


“And to the thousands of brave men and women who dedicate their lives to service across the Department of Homeland Security: please know that what you do every day is important. I hope it fills your work with meaning and your life with happiness. On behalf of the people that we serve together, thank you for your service.”