Posted by PA2 Cynthia Oldham, Friday, January 30, 2015
Story and photos by Petty Officer 3rd Class David Micallef
Crewmembers at Coast Guard Station Atlantic City awake early in the morning to begin their day. The crewmembers wear their uniforms with pride, and maintain regulated grooming standards in accordance with the Coast Guard Uniform Regulations Manual.
The crewmembers’ grooming standards are based on several elements including neatness, cleanliness, safety, military image and appearance — all of the crewmembers except one. This particular crewmember’s hair is not in regulation but he fits in nicely with the crew.
Nucklas, or “Nucky” as his shipmates call him, may not look the part but he plays an important role in the crew’s morale by participating in day-to-day operations, which helps maintain the crew’s readiness and safety.
Nucky stands approximately two feet tall and weighs more than 110 pounds. He has thick black hair, dark eyes and can usually be found drooling and slobbering on anything in sight.
Nucky, a Newfoundland, was provided a new leash on life when he was welcomed to the station Nov. 8, 2010. His shipmates say he has been an important crewmember since he reported to the station.
Nucky began his indefinite enlistment at Station Atlantic City as a seaman apprentice and was promoted to petty officer third class May 14, 2014. As a seaman apprentice he was trained to participate in numerous activities with the crew, including mooring evolutions at the pier. Nucky catches the mooring lines in his mouth when the boats return from underway trips.
“He is disappointed every time the boat leaves,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Fonseca, the training petty officer at the station. “He is on the pier barking and cheering when we return, which is a boost of morale after a long day patrolling the waters.”
During training exercises, crewmembers are required to get certifications and maintain them based on Coast Guard crew proficiency standards. These exercises are challenging, and all crewmembers are required to maintain proficiency, including Nucky.
“When we jump into the water to test our dry suits, he jumps in with us,” said Seaman Madison Wood, a crewmember at the station. “It makes the training more enjoyable for everyone when he’s around.”
After all, Nucky is a water dog and likes to go swimming on a regular basis.
“He doesn’t ask for permission or authorization for swim calls,” said Fonseca.
Nucky also runs with boat crewmembers during their bi-annual physical fitness test. He finishes in the 18- to 29-year-old time frame, said Fonseca.
One time Nucky went absent without leave and roamed the streets of Atlantic City. The station received a phone call sometime after midnight from the local police department stating they picked up Nucky at a nearby casino. No one knows how he got there or what he was doing, but they were happy he was safe. He was released without incident.
Coast Guard mascots are common throughout the service. One of the first mascots was a long – clawed black bear named Objee. Another mascot was a pig named Samantha who was a Vietnamese sway back pot bellied pig. The most famous of them all was a mixed-breed dog named Sinbad. He was stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Campbell. No matter what the animal is they all serve a special role in providing morale for their units.
After a ruff day of providing morale and support to the crewmembers of station Atlantic City, Nucky is pooped and lies down for the night just to do it all again tomorrow.