united states coast guard

R 201432 MAY 20
UNCLAS //N16000//
ALCOAST 181/20
1. I am pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 RADM Sidney A. Wallace Award
for Excellence in Marine Environmental Response and Preparedness (Wallace Award).
The Wallace Award recognizes units and individual 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 the nominations based on the following
    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,
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 2019 Wallace Award unit recipient is the Gulf Strike Team (GST) – Mobile, AL.
In 2019, GST demonstrated excellence in marine environmental response and preparedness
during 15 response operations and multiple exercises, drills and training support
initiatives. Most notably, GST provided incident command, site safety and hazardous
material response expertise during the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC)
Deer Park Facility fire response. The tank farm fire and subsequent release of oil
and hazardous materials into the Houston Ship Channel (HSC) created two simultaneous
Type I Incidents. Twenty GST members seamlessly integrated with the 3,600 federal,
state, local and industry response personnel, and assisted the Federal On-Scene
Coordinator (FOSC) with the mobilization and management of 214 response vessels,
142 skimmers, 50 vacuum trucks, and 168,000 feet of boom. In total, the incident
management team decontaminated over 200 impacted vessels, recovered 125,000
barrels (bbls) of mixed product from the facility and removed over 130,000 bbls of
contaminated water from the HSC. On September 8th 2019, the GST received an immediate
call for support from MSU Savannah following the fire and capsizing of the
M/V GOLDEN RAY in St. Simons Sound, GA. Members of the GST were on-scene and directly
assisted with the rescue operation of four trapped crew members inside the engine room.
Throughout the on-going response, the GST has led the National Strike Force’s
deployment of 60 members in support of pollution response, confined space entry,
salvage and lightering operations, air monitoring, contractor oversight and incident
command functions. The GST helped ensure the safe lightering of 383,000 gallons of
fuel oil and provided technical review of the Environmental Protection Barrier
installation plan to support salvage operations. Furthermore, throughout 2019, the
GST led and participated in 37 outreach events and preparedness activities that
fostered strong partnerships among U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) FOSC/OSCs, state, industry, and local response communities. Efforts
included participating in five Regional Response Team and Area Committee meetings,
10 full-scale exercises, teaching Incident Command System (ICS) and Hazardous Waste
Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) classes, and hosting the inaugural
Advanced Environmental Response Workshop for 50 Coast Guard Sector personnel.
3. The 2019 Wallace Award individual recipient is CWO Russell Strathern of Sector
Honolulu, HI. As the lead Federal On-Scene Coordinator Representative (FOSCR) at
Sector Honolulu, CWO Strathern exhibited the highest level of professionalism and
excellence in marine environmental response and preparedness. He led the Sector
Incident Management Division (IMD) during 149 pollution responses, overseeing the
removal of 1,488 gallons of petroleum products and 195 pounds of hazardous
substances from the pristine Hawaiian marine environment. His unmatched technical
and regulatory acumen have made him an invaluable advisor to numerous federal,
state, local, and industry partners as well as the center of gravity for several
innovative Area Committee initiatives. Following the discharge of 250 gallons of
heavy fuel oil in Honolulu Harbor, CWO Strathern expertly guided the response
amongst 11 federal, state, and local Oil Spill Removal Organizations (OSROs).
When the spill impacted vessel operations throughout Honolulu Harbor and threatened
a coral research facility housing highly sensitive endemic species, CWO Strathern
established a Unified Command to synchronize priorities and objectives and
streamline the response. As a result, 95% of the spilled product was recovered
with minimal impact to commerce. Most notably, CWO Strathern improved the
Alternative Planning Criteria (APC) program for vessel response plans throughout
the Sector’s remote 1.4 million square nautical mile Area of Operations (AOR).
He developed comprehensive supplemental guidance and templates to facilitate APC
submissions, leveraging the Area Committee to educate local response partners and
stakeholders on the APC program. His efforts highlighted critical resource and
capability gaps in remote regions and enabled commerce to operate safely while
complying with regulatory requirements. As a result, he was selected for the
Coast Guard’s national APC workgroup to develop additional policy and guidance for
27,000 vessels sailing throughout U.S. waters. His other notable initiatives
include facilitating a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) with a new OSRO in Hawaii,
which increased regional response capabilities by 33%; leading a Salvage and
Marine Fire Fighting (SMFF) capabilities workgroup with the Area Committee;
establishing a detailed abandoned and derelict vessel (ADV) inventory with the
EPA; modernizing Geographic Response Strategies in the Environmental Response
Management Application (ERMA); and overseeing the field evaluation of oil test
strips with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC).
4. There were a total of 30 combined unit and individual nominations submitted
to the panel for review. The selection process was thorough and thoughtful.
All units and members should be proud of their continued efforts to support the
MER mission. Although only one recipient for each category could be selected,
it is my honor to provide the following honorable mentions:
    a. Individual:
       (1) CDR Jarod Toczko – CG Sector Houston/Galveston
       (2) MST1 Eric Garza – CG Sector St. Petersburg
       (3) LT Rafael Shamilov – CG Pacific Strike Team
    b. Unit:
       (1) CG Sector Puget Sound
       (2) CG Sector Honolulu
       (3) CG Sector New Orleans
5. In addition to the extraordinary achievements noted by the Wallace Award Unit
and Individual recipients, I applaud the continued environmental response efforts
conducted on a day-to-day basis. Stay safe in the field and we look forward to
reviewing next year's submissions. Semper Paratus!
6. Ms. Dana Tulis, Director of Emergency Management, sends.
7. Internet release is authorized.