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Coast Guard auxiliary members earn medals

Suncoast News staff Suncoast News staff report
Published:   |   Updated: April 1, 2013 at 04:40 PM

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NEW PORT RICHEY -

Two Coast Guard Auxiliary members recently received Achievement Medals for their service and innovations that helped save the Clearwater air station about $35,000.

Jonathan W. Nicholls of New Port Richey and John J. Tassinaro of Dunedin accepted the commendations from Capt. J.G. Turner, commanding officer of Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.

Nicholls, assistant auxiliary air coordinator, revamped and revitalized the station’s Auxiliary Air program, public affairs officer Karen Montembeault said.

Nicholls reorganized records and documentation for aircrew qualification and facility inspections. The changes resulted in a notable increase in Auxiliary Air flight hours, providing support to Coast Guard operations.

Nicholls also coordinated six critical logistics flights to deliver parts needed for Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk medium-recovery helicopters on duty in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos. These missions, using Auxiliary aircraft, resulted in a cost savings of $35,000 of what standard contract air carriers would have charged.

Tassinaro, assistant auxiliary air coordinator-materials, was responsible for the station’s Garmin GPS program. To ensure that Coast Guard flight crews had the most current data available, he programmed GPS units used in C-130 aircraft, updated electronic charts and managed the required bi-monthly swap-out of several hundred aircraft publications.

Tassinaro also improved the supply system for Auxiliary Air Operations by properly outfitting the Auxiliary flight crews with materials and customized charts for specific missions and operating areas. He also worked in the flight services office, performing needed tasks for Coast Guard aviators who were on flight duty.

Nicholls and Tassinaro volunteered more than 1,600 hours and 1,400 hours, respectively, last year in support of Air Station Clearwater and the Dunedin Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla, Flotilla 11-10.

The auxiliary is a uniformed civilian volunteer corps created by the U.S. Congress in 1939 to support the Coast Guard.

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