“Military life is a constant adventure,” admits Lieutenant Commander Patrick Burnett ’04
, who has faithfully served the United States Coast Guard since graduating from the USCG Academy in 2008.
Pat was always drawn to the military, especially to the naval services, but credits Mount Saint Joseph’s service-oriented environment with cementing his decision to join. Since beginning his journey, he has had the opportunity to serve in a variety of capacities all over the globe.
“After 11 years of active duty, 4.5 years at sea, I’ve been lucky to travel around the world, from Europe past the International Date Line and above the North Slope of Alaska to the Southern Hemisphere,” says Pat. “In my last job as the chief engineer of USCGC Sherman, having the ability to lead an engineering department of 50+ people on a 378’ ship was incredibly rewarding.”
Onboard USCGC Sherman, Pat was involved in the intercepting and offloading of more than 13 tons of cocaine (valued at greater than $400 million) before it was able to reach the United States shoreline. As chief engineer, Pat also trained 11 junior officers on their first afloat assignment and received the Lucas Plaque Afloat for the top engineering department in the Coast Guard fleet. In 2018, he was interviewed for an episode of the Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch called The Last Tour of the USCG Sherman, which honored the ship’s decommissioning. USCGC Sherman was transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy and Pat planned the training of its new crew through the foreign transfer process.
In 2009, Pat’s ship, USCGC Mohawk, based out of Key West, was directed to the Haiti earthquake response. “We were the second United States asset on the scene and immediately set up air traffic control for the humanitarian aid airlift from Port Au Prince, Haiti, while providing whatever immediate medical assistance the ship was capable of by establishing a clinic on the shore,” he shares. After one week, the crew exhausted the entirety of their medical supplies, including improvised splints and stretchers, and the ship was relieved.
Pat is proud to be a member of such a versatile military branch that allows him to serve in a number of ways. “The Coast Guard’s mission is one of constant evolution,” he explains. “As an agile workforce, we can rapidly transition our mission set from tactically planning drug interdictions to humanitarian aid to search and rescue to interoperating with Navy battle groups.”
Pat continues, “I have had the pleasure to serve alongside the best people this nation has to offer, with incredible skillsets and the ability to come together to accomplish remarkable feats, all while sacrificing time away from families, spouses, and children.” He readily admits that his best military experiences are every return home from deployment to see his wife and daughter.
Now, Pat serves as a Patrol Boat Product Line projects branch chief for the Surface Forces Logistics Center in Baltimore, where he works under fellow Mount graduate and Coast Guard civilian Mike Parrish ’85. He is responsible for the engineering, logistics, casualty response, maintenance, and induction into the Coast Guard lifecycle sustainment system of the 154’ WPC Fast Response Cutter (FRC). “The FRC is currently being built and is the most technologically advanced and newest Coast Guard patrol boat responsible for search and rescue, counter narcotics, alien & migrant interdiction, and law enforcement patrols. Presently, there are 32 of the planned 61 cutters in service,” he says.
Pat’s long and storied career in service is an inspiration to his younger brother, Jeff ’14, who is a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. “My main motivation for entering the service was to do something meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting with my life,” he says. “The key influencer for my wanting to do so was my brother Pat.”Article from The Mount magazine.