Petty Officer Smith exemplifies the Coast Guard's core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. "She has distinguished herself from her peers through her untiring motivation, outstanding professional knowledge and a special commitment to excellence," says one of her former unit officers. In a billet normally assigned to a more senior petty officer, Petty Officer Smith excelled. As a public affairs specialist in her most recent assignment in Hawaii, she contributed to more than 40 articles for local, national and international newspapers that portrayed the Coast Guard in a positive light, most notably during the Ehime Maru tragedy. She was selected by the Coast Guard to travel to Hong Kong to coordinate media coverage of the International Search and Rescue Demonstration in May of 2002. She was also selected by the Department of Defense for work in media relations for Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo, Cuba. And, why is she always selected? Her supervisor commented, "Petty Officer Smith is the model military person. She is hard-working, enthusiastic, professional, intelligent, personable and always willing to go that extra mile to get a job done right. Her ability to keep a cool head when all around her is chaotic is remarkable." "Her achievements make her an excellent example for other young petty officers, who routinely seek her out for guidance and advice," said her supervisor.
Despite her busy schedule, Petty Officer Smith is working to earn her bachelor's degree in communications at Chaminade University and also finds time to give back to the community through numerous volunteer activities. She helped organize a Memorial Day floral tribute for the USS Arizona and has also provided volunteer time to the National Park Service, Hawaii Youth Symphony Organization, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and served as an adult leader with a local Girl Scout Troop. "She has a deep sense of commitment to her unit and the community that is not normally associated with junior personnel," said a colleague. "She truly is an everyday hero who dedicates her time and effort to help others without looking for recognition."
"Petty Officer First Class Benedict will volunteer for any leadership position without hesitation and without complaint and is an outstanding example to his fellow sailors," says his immediate supervisor. But it is perhaps the balance he achieves between his personal and professional life that makes him an outstanding member of the community and a shining example to Coast Guard members who serve with him.
As a volunteer in the Partnership in Education program, Petty Officer Benedict works closely with Red Hill Elementary School to assist youth education programs and facility maintenance projects. Petty Officer Benedict also volunteers countless hours as a leader in local youth activities and as a cub scout den leader.
To his fellow crew, Petty Officer Benedict advocates creating a family environment. He initiated the idea of interviewing and profiling his fellow workers in a monthly MWR newsletter section entitled Meet your Mates in order to "get to know the faces we see every day." During the past year, Petty Officer Benedict also initiated and formed the Coast Guard First Class Petty Officer's Association, a volunteer organization that helps community agencies throughout Oahu. Petty Officer Benedict was selected as the Enlisted Person of the Quarter and was the YMCA's Coast Guard selection for community service. Through his community work, care for his fellow Coast Guardsmen and his energy and high level of professionalism, Petty Officer Benedict has enhanced not only the image of the Integrated Support Command, but the Coast Guard as a whole.