Kendall native and Coast Guard Petty Officer Michelle Press, a reservist with Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Port Canaveral, Fla., recently returned from an extended tour of duty for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.
Press was called to active duty in October 2011 and remained on active status for 22 months following her report date.
During her tenure on the response, Press worked as a Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team member. SCAT teams perform a crucial role in environmental crisis response. Teams collect data on shoreline oiling conditions, preparing field maps and forms detailing the areas surveyed and making specific cleanup recommendations.
Press conducted more than 200 operational missions and provided the direct federal oversight for the collection of more than 14,500 tons of oily waste. She supervised the protection of nesting wildlife across the Mississippi and Alabama coast line and was responsible for the safety of 160 contract personnel in the field. As the states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi were transitioned back to National Response Center reporting, Press investigated NRC reports of oil to identify MC-252 product and determine the appropriate cleanup method.
“Working on this response has been the highlight of my Coast Guard career,” said Press. “Being part of such a large, multi-agency operation has opened my eyes to the difficulties that are presented when so many people/interests are being represented and the experience has made me a better Coast Guardsman. I have a new respect for military personnel that are deployed away from home.”
Press was awarded the Coast Guard Achievement Medal for her work.