EVERETT — Petty Officer 1st Class Nicole Cimino, of Lake Stevens, was named the U.S. Coast Guard’s Enlisted Person of the Year-Reserve Component for embodying the service’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.
“I was shocked, I was absolutely shocked. Floored is really the best term,” Cimino told The Daily Herald in a phone interview.
Cimino, 35, is a reserve gunner’s mate assigned to the Coast Guard Port Security Unit 313 in Everett. She is believed to be the first female gunner’s mate from the reserves to achieve the national honor, which comes with a meritorious advancement.
She will receive her new rank as chief petty officer at a May 11 ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Cimino earlier was named the District 13-level Reserve Enlisted Person of the Year.
As lead petty officer of the Port Security Unit’s armory, Cimino supervises maintenance, training and range operations, and maintains the weapons qualifications for the 159 members assigned to the unit, most of them also reservists.
When not deployed, Cimino works as a trauma center nurse at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Cimino was born and raised near San Jose, California.
“I was doing a swiftwater rescue class. It was honestly the most fun I ever had,” she recalled.
Through that class, she discovered not only something she loved doing but, through Coast Guard service, a way to make it a living. She joined in 2000, and joined the reserves in 2004.
Military service has been a good fit in other ways, too.
“The Coast Guard for me has a get-it-done mentality,” Cimino said. “We get it done, regardless of the weather or whatever else is going on.”
During her time with the Coast Guard, Cimino has served on “nature’s roller coaster” at Station Quillayute River in La Push, where she fell in love with Washington’s outdoor treasures. She also served in Florida, helping rescue three fisherman from a sinking boat, among other adventures. In 2016, she was deployed for nine months to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
She credits her senior officers and the support of her father and husband for her most recent achievement.
“I feel like there are so many good people in the Coast Guard, and so many people who deserve this,” Cimino said.
“It takes the right combination. It take someone willing to put in the hard work, but also being surrounded by the right people who make you a better version of yourself.”
Melissa Slager: firstname.lastname@example.org.