Following a short stint of college in 1985, Senior Chief Machinery Technician James E. Sharp, USCG, Retired, enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in Salisbury, MD, serving from 1985 to 2011. He followed the legacy of his uncle, a former “Coasty”, who throughout his childhood he greatly admired and respected for his service.
Senior Chief Sharp held many positions throughout his military career, including: Machinery Technician 3rd Class, Pollution Investigator, Boarding Officer, First Class Petty Officer, Machinery Technician Chief, Main Propulsion Senior Chief, and Chief of the Boat. Senior Chief Sharp was stationed primarily between Guam and Hawaii, with shorter stays in Taylor’s Island, MD and Seattle, WA. During his 26-year career, Senior Chief Sharp served on seven United States Coast Guard Cutters (USCGC): CAPE GEORGE, BASSWOOD, ASSATEAGUE, GALVESTON ISLAND, SASSAFRASS, WALNUT, and MIDGETT. He also worked with the Marine Safety Office (MSO) in Guam and the Naval Engineering Support Unit in Honolulu. The ships Senior Chief Sharp served on were involved in various tasks, such as: aids to navigation throughout the Western Pacific; search and rescue; investigating oil pollution incidents; foreign fishing vessel seizures; fishery violations; oil spill recovery; and vessel security, to name a few. Senior Chief Sharp also served in the Persian Gulf for the Iraq War.
Each USCGC Senior Chief Sharp served on provided him with different responsibilities, including: managing the engine-room; searching documents, logs, charts, and personal effects seized from migrants and organized crime participants; oversight, repair and maintenance of all vital auxiliary machinery systems; and aiding all Hawaiian Island units flying to neighboring islands and any Coast Guard ships in the Hawaii area of responsibility. He was also a key component in the interdiction of multiple go-fast drug busts and the seizure of two Self-Propelled Semi-Submersible watercraft, which resulted in the seizure of nearly 27 metric tons of cocaine.
One of his notable missions was serving as advisor to the Commanding Officer in response to a Boeing 747 Korean airliner crash at Agana Heights. He led a team in the response for 10 hours before successfully extraditing a mother and daughter from the fuselage in high seas. The pair only suffered minor injuries and were flown back to Korea the following week.
Senior Chief Sharp retired from active duty in the United States Coast Guard in September of 2011. He worked as a Ship Repair Superintendent for two years before getting picked up by the US Navy at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as a Shipbuilding Specialist, acting as Government oversite for contractors on Aircraft Carriers. “I continue to back the US Coast Guard and all the jobs they do,” he said. “Do more with less was always the saying, and we did it and I see that the service continues to do business this way and continues to answer the call and take care of the jobs set before them, Semper Paratus.”
Senior Chief Sharp is the recipient of 18 awards and medals:
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Bicentennial Unit Commendation, Commandant Letter of Commendation, Coast Guard Achievement Medal, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Meritorious Team, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation, Coast Guard Sea Service, Coast Guard Special Operations, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Transportation 9-11 Ribbon, M-16 Sharpshooter, 9MM Ribbon
Senior Chief Sharp resides with his wife Connie in Poulsbo, WA and enjoys boating, fishing, clamming, and being outdoors. They have one daughter, Bianca Lei. He is a strong supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and Nine Line Foundation.
Senior Chief Sharp was nominated by his friend, Ted Trumbull.
“As a lifelong friend of Jamie, I was always amazed at the stories he told me of his duties while in the US Coast Guard. As the lesser-known U.S. Military Service, most people would associate it with protecting the waters around the U.S. mainland, but they cover all parts of the world. His 26-year career in the Coast Guard took him all over the world’s waters, patrolling the Pacific water for months on end. He always called me after getting back to port with new stories; he’s shared tales of rescues and pulling people from sinking boats during storms. Though maybe not the headline news type of military action most of us know, the Coast Guard is out there patrolling foreign waters and protecting the USA in ways we never hear about. Jamie was some of the first military to go to Iraq during the Gulf war. I commend him and his service to this country.”
Senior Chief Sharp chose the Gary Sinise Foundation to receive this month’s donation.