Member serves in multiple roles, guiding the future and honoring the past
In light of Women in Engineering Day, June 23, we're spotlighting Chief Petty Officer Christina Kamalo, a machinery technician by trade who embraces the roles of parent, Chief, and engineer.
Chief Kamalo, a native of Amsterdam, New York, leads the engineering department aboard the USCGC Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) here in Guam, and her impact has been notable as she trains others, keeps the ship running, and overcomes various mechanical and electrical challenges to ensure mission readiness.
She's had a diverse career, including a tour in Coast Guard recruiting, and is fearless in challenging assignments. Her spouse is also in the service serving as a Coast Guard diver in Hawaii with the Regional Dive Locker Pacific. This situation means Kamalo is currently a geo-bachelor as they split their time between islands, underway trips, and deployments.
With over 15 years of service, Kamalo is dedicated to a positive work environment and excels at developing others, always seeking an outsized impact in her field. What makes her story more impressive is the recent involvement of her son, Edward "Kerc" Kamalo, spending his summer vacation alongside his mother and the crew.
Instead of simply enjoying his break, Kerc embraced the opportunity to learn and grow. He apprenticed on the ship for several weeks, immersing himself in engineering. Rain or shine, he rolled up his sleeves, cleaned sea strainers, assisted with maintenance, organized tools, and even enthusiastically tackled the bilges while the cutter is in port for a maintenance period.
Kerc was recently honored with a letter of appreciation and a ship's coin for his dedication and hard work. "His presence aboard has not only contributed to the ongoing typhoon recovery efforts but also lifted the spirits of the entire crew. We hope this experience ignites a passion for the Coast Guard within Kerc, leading him to follow in the footsteps of his incredible parents," said Lt. Jalle Merritt, commanding officer of Myrtle Hazard.
Chief Kamalo and her son symbolize a family tradition of selfless service, embodying the U.S. Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam values of people fundamentally, unit resolutely, and mission relentlessly. Their commitment and dedication remind us of the profound impact individuals can make, not only within their immediate surroundings but also in the larger context of regional security and stability.
Chief Kamalo's outstanding leadership and positive influence on the USCGC Myrtle Hazard embodies the legacy of the Chief and beyond. Her service and role also honor the ship's namesake, Myrtle Hazard, the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1918, she signed her oath, started as an Electrician 3rd Class, and is remembered for her skill as a telegraph operator during World War I. Her son also went on to serve during World War II, although it was with the U.S. Navy as a submariner.
The Myrtle Hazard is the 39th 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter named for the first enlisted woman, an electrician, and radio operator, in the U.S. Coast Guard. The ship was commissioned along with its sister ships, Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) and Frederick Hatch (1143), in Guam in July 2021. These cutters are a vital part of the U.S. Coast Guard's enduring regional presence serving the people of the Pacific in the U.S. Coast Guard's area of responsibility, encompassing Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau. With around 350 members, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam's crew and sub-units work closely with regional partners to ensure the safety, security, and stewardship of waters in the Western Pacific.