Story and pictures by Senior Army Instructor, LTC (Ret) Timothy Schiller
On 27 January 2023, eight (8) Cadets from the Mililani High School Army JROTC Trojan Battalion toured the USCGC MIDGETT (WMSL 757) under the supervision of Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Brandee Schiller, the Assistant Engineer Officer onboard and a former Mililani High School Trojan Cadet, MHS ’16. “Having the cadets onboard was a great experience, they were engaged and asking plenty of questions about the ship, the Coast Guard, and the Academy. It was the first time that Mililani had visited the Coast Guards Legend Class Cutter and with the Coast Guard’s widespread presence here on the island, I hope it’s not the last. To give this opportunity again to Mililani High School and other interested JROTC units, would be a great opportunity for the Coast Guard to showcase our other cutter platforms and shoreside facilities, as well as provide young high schoolers a first-hand experience of what to expect if they joined the Coast Guard. If you have a desire to pursue a career at sea, lead law enforcement missions, conduct drug or migrant interdictions, save lives, become an aviator, maintain the nations’ lighthouses or buoys, or provide security to the nations ports, waterways, and coastal areas, the Coast Guard may be worth looking into.”
Boatswain’s Mate Chief Petty Officer Kevin Lekich assisted with the tour, providing insight to his 17-year career and explaining the operational functions of the ship. “Everyday is different, you experience a wide range of missions, and have to be ready to adapt at any given notice. You learn a lot on the job and because of that, most of us have a very diverse skill set, but even with that, it has been a very rewarding career.”
The tour started with a general shipboard safety brief to ensure the cadets didn’t slip, trip, or fall onboard. We then walked up to the flight deck and saw the sister ship, USCGC KIMBALL (WMSL 756) get underway for their Western Pacific Deployment. We then toured the pilot house, engine rooms, and living spaces on board, seeing much of the 418 foot ship. The cadets learned about the JP-5 fuel system used for the helicopters, propulsion and power generation systems, navigation equipment, and the three small boats used for Fishery Boardings, Search and Rescue, and Law Enforcement missions, to name a few.
MIDGETT will be getting underway soon for their next deployment in the North and South Pacific Ocean to support Living Marine Resources, Search and Rescue, and Law Enforcement missions. “This is a very rare opportunity, to have a former cadet give their time and share their personal experience to inspire these young cadets as begin to find their way into the workforce after high school. We look forward to expanding this partnership with the Coast Guard for future visits,” said LTC Timothy Schiller.
Top Photo Caption: BMC Kevin Lekich briefs cadets from the Pilot House and teaches them about the navigation equipment onboard