united states coast guard

R 020714 MAY 18
UNCLAS //N16000//
ALCOAST 166/18
1. I am pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 RADM Sidney A. Wallace Award for
Excellence in Marine Environmental Response and Preparedness (Wallace Award).
The Wallace Award recognizes units and members who exemplify the highest standards of
professionalism and initiative embodied by RADM Wallace throughout his career. This year’s
awardees were selected from impressive nominations submitted per REF (A). Thank you to all
who dedicated time to highlight both unit and individual achievements. A panel convened and
reviewed nominations based on the following criteria:
    A. Excellence in the area of marine environmental response and preparedness;
    B. Contributions to the Marine Environmental Response (MER) program;
    C. Efforts to improve coordination and cooperation among all MER partner agencies, the
       industry, and the public;
    D. Professional conduct in carrying out program assignments;
    E. Innovations in response and preparedness to pollution incidents; and
    F. Furthering the goals and objectives of the MER program.
2. The Wallace Award unit recipient is Sector Delaware Bay. Sector Delaware Bay displayed
excellence in marine environmental response and preparedness during 2017; as demonstrated
during the response to a clamming vessel that had recovered discarded military munitions.
Crew members were exposed to an unknown blistering agent and Sector Delaware Bay worked
with port partners to ensure the crew was medically evaluated and that the catch was safely
isolated and destroyed before going to the public market. Educational efforts to instruct
mariners how to properly identify munitions, make appropriate notifications, and avoid
exposure proved effective and promoted readiness within the mid-Atlantic regional fishing
community. Sector Delaware Bay made great contributions to the MER program through their
involvement with the development of Tactics, Techniques, Procedures (TTP) on Pollution
Response and Oil Sampling. Additionally, Sector made great efforts to improve Coast Guard
compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The
Sector conducted joint exercises and training to promote strong partnerships. This included
cooperative Government Initiated Unannounced Exercises (GIUEs) and training on National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System with the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as
joint exercises with the Philadelphia Fire Department and Customs and Boarder Protection on
shipboard confined space entry and marine firefighting. Furthermore, Sector Delaware Bay
incorporated new and emerging technologies into responses and exercises by championing the
initiative to use an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to assist and improve pollution response
operations, and incorporated its use into future Coast Guard Policy. The Sector also
integrated the Incident Management Software System (IMSS) into the planning and execution
of GIUEs. These combined efforts of Sector Delaware Bay led to the furthering the goals and
objectives of the MER program.
3. The Wallace Award individual recipient is MSSR2 Omar Borges, Sector Boston Incident
Management Division Supervisor. MSSR2 Borges demonstrated outstanding initiative when he
provided training to Sector Boston personnel on Preparedness Assessment Visits (PAVs),
conducted 4 PAVs on Oil Spill Removal Organizations (OSRO) within the community, and
established a Sector based Performance Quality Standard (PQS). MSSR2 Borges’ innovative
leadership enabled Sector Boston to better assess the readiness of the port and showcased
excellence in marine environmental response and preparedness. His professionalism in
carrying out program assignments and efforts to improve coordination and cooperation among
MER partner agencies were highlighted during the Sail Boston Tall Ships’ Festival, the
Nation’s highest-rated maritime security event. This 7-day celebration attracted 51 tall
ships from 14 countries and was designated a DHS SEAR Level I event and a Marine Event of
National Significance. Serving as Emergency Response Branch Director and providing
resourceful forethought in response and preparedness, MSSR2 Borges expertly coordinated
highly specialized equipment and personnel from Coast Guard National Strike Force, 1st Civil
Support Team, Massachusetts State Police, and Boston Fire Department to form a rapid
response force to quickly survey and categorize potential chemical, biological, or
radiological incidents. He also coordinated with Massachusetts Department of Environmental
Protection (MDEP), to strategically position pollution response equipment throughout the
port to rapidly respond to marine oil spills. Furthering port partnership coordination and
cooperation, he engaged with MDEP and NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator during the
response to 27 sunken vessels following a violent storm in Sector Boston’s AOR.
Additionally, MSSR2 Borges served as lead Federal On Scene Coordinator’s Representative
when a sunken passenger vessel discharged Number 6 fuel oil and hazardous substances into
Boston Harbor; his actions were admirable as he established deterrents to keep waterfowl and
other resources at risk away from the spill. MSSR2 Borges contributions to the Marine
Environmental Response (MER) program are commendable and his accomplishments are noteworthy
in furthering the goals of the MER program.
4. In total, the panel received 17 remarkable unit nominations and 5 inspiring individual
nominations, submitted in recognition of outstanding Marine Environmental Response efforts.
Thank you to all who dedicated time to highlight extraordinary achievements. I applaud the
efforts of the following Individual Award Nominees as honorable mentions:
    A. MSSR2 Matthew Hampton - Pacific Strike Team
    B. LT Daniel Ippolito - Sector Los Angeles - Long Beach (IMD)
    C. MST3 Devin McMahan - Sector New Orleans (IMD)
    D. Mr. Michael Sams - District 8 (drm)
5. The Wallace Award will be presented to the 2017 recipients during a formal recognition
presentation at Coast Guard Headquarters in May 2018. Exact date and logistics to be
coordinated via sepcor between COMDT (CG-MER) and awardees.
6. In addition to the extraordinary achievements noted by the Wallace Award unit and
individual recipients, I applaud the environmental response efforts associated with the
unprecedented 2017 Hurricane season. The 2017 Hurricane season was an all hands evolution
and I am grateful for the sacrifices and dedication that were exhibited. Stay safe in the
field and we look forward to reviewing next year's submissions. Semper Paratus!
7. Ms. Dana Tulis, Director of Incident Management and Preparedness Policy, sends.
8. Internet release authorized.