U.S. Coast Guard Mid-Atlantic
Meet the CO!
We did a fun little Q&A with Chief Warrant Officer Brian Porter, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Smilax (WLIC 315) so you could get to know the CO on a more personal level as well as an in depth look into some of the missions!
* What are the primary missions the Smilax crew conducts?
"We are responsible for the construction of over 1,300 fixed aids to navigation in the rivers, sounds, and Intracoastal Waterway of North Carolina as well as maintaining 25 floating aids to navigation in the ever-changing ocean inlets of North Carolina. We're a 100-foot tender with a crew of 17. We push a 70-foot barge with a crane and diesel-fired pile driver. We could also be called upon for search and rescue, or to serve as a tender/mothership for law enforcement or ports, waterways or coastal security missions."
* Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the Coast Guard?
"I was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia before enlisting in the Coast Guard in January 2001. This coming January marks 20 years of service!"
* Do you have a particular favorite memory aboard?
"Every day onboard is a favorite memory. I was onboard as Seaman Porter during the 9/11 attacks, and while this is certainly NOT a favorite memory, it is forever with me."
* You mentioned your love for the Smilax - tell us a little about your history with her and why she is so special?
"My first unit out of recruit training was Smilax. I had no idea what the cutter was or did, nor did my company commanders. I used my 5 minute call home to send my Mom on a quick, rudimentary internet search (it was 2001) to figure out the what and where. As Smilax was previously homeported in Brunswick, Georgia, that's where I thought I was going until about week 7 when we got our hardcopy orders and mine said Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. So I reported onboard a few short weeks later, and began one of the coolest jobs in the Coast Guard. It was loud, dirty, hot work, but I enjoyed it. I was a Boatswain's Mate striker, completing on the job training vs. going to a formal "A" school. I completed my package and put on BM3 on her deck in November 2002. Later in my career, I was back at Fort Macon as the Officer in Charge of Aids to Navigation Team Fort Macon as a Chief Boatswain's Mate. I was selected for commission as a Chief Warrant Officer in January 2014, and I put on my shoulder boards as a newly minted Boatswain on her decks in June of 2014. It is such an incredible honor and privilege to return to serve as her Commanding Officer almost 20 years later, leading and developing our next generation of Coasties to continue her proud legacy. Every day is an honor!"
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