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Coastguard officers graduate with honours from US training centres

Coastguard officers graduate with honours from US training centres

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Two members of the local Coastguard Service outperformed their American counterparts at the United States Army and Coast Guard Training Centres recently.{{more}}

Able Seamen (AB) Elda Davis-Norton and Akeme Ryan graduated top of their classes at US Army Food Service Specialist and Boatswain’s Mate Quarter Masters Training Courses respectively.

Davis-Norton left the state on August 28 to take part in an eight-week Food Service Specialist Course at the US Army Training Centre at Fort Lee, Virginia. Davis-Norton, who joined the Coastguard in December of 2008, is attached to the Administrative Department and is responsible for the supervision of the galley staff who prepare meals for Coastguard personnel.

The Food Service Specialist Course provides participants with the necessary skills to perform preliminary food preparation procedures, prepare menus, cook, bake, fry, steam or boil, according to the US Army standard. Participants are also taught how to set up serving lines, garnishing of food items, application of food protection and sanitation measures in field and garrison (barracks) environments.

Davis-Norton graduated from the US Army Joint Culinary Arts School in Fort Lee, Virginia on November 5, 2014. She graduated as an Honorary Student, having gained a 98.4 per cent average, topping her class of 92 students. Davis also received her Diploma in Culinary Arts at the graduation ceremony.

Davis-Norton indicated that her stint at the Culinary Arts School was an enjoyable and productive experience and said her major challenge was the long duration of the classes, which were from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. In spite of this challenge, Davis-Norton indicated that adjustment was easy, because the training environment and the conditions of operation are similar to the working environment at the Coastguard.

Davis-Norton said the most beneficial aspect of her training was the Mass Field Kitchen, which consists of preparing meals in a large galley (kitchen) for over 100 persons per meal and supervising a staff of 45 students per meal. She said this aspect of the training has enhanced her supervisory skills and meal preparation capability for large numbers tremendously. Davis-Norton’s goal is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts from a recognized University or return to the US Army Joint Culinary Arts School to attend the Food Service Specialist Advanced Course.

AB Akeme Ryan left the state on May 26 to attend the US Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate Training Course at the US Coast Guard Training Centre in Yorktown, Virginia. The course was conducted over 12 weeks. The Boatswain’s Mate Training Course is an intensive training course which exposed students to many facets of a Boatswain Mate rating.

A Boatswain Mate is the most versatile crew member of the Coastguard operational team. They are masters of seamanship, capable of performing almost any task in deck maintenance, small boat coxswain and navigation and communication duties. Students are examined on a daily basis on areas covered the previous day.

Ryan graduated on September 5 from the US Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate A School with a Certificate of Completion, which qualifies him as a Boatswain Mate. Ryan was also awarded the Deck Watch Officer Ace Award; this award is given to the student who scored a perfect score (100 per cent) on the most difficult exam of the course. Ryan created history at the Graduation Ceremony, by being the first non-American student to receive this award.

Ryan indicated that his career goal is to be among the best navigators and boat handlers in the Coastguard and to attain his Captain’s Licence. He said the most challenging aspect of the course was the frequency of examinations, which exerted extreme mental pressure on students. Ryan said his prior knowledge helped cushion the extent of the challenges with preparations for examinations and practical evolutions.

The Food Service Specialist and Boatswain’s Mate Courses are among a list of courses attended by Coastguard and Police officers. These courses are part of the International Military Education and Training assistance given to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines by the United States of America.

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