A Tribute to an American Hero

EMSI recently had the pleasure of presenting an ICS-341, Incident Response Planning course, for USCG Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach at Fort McArthur. Seventeen members of USCG active duty and auxiliary attended the course taught September 20-24, 2010. This course teaches skills needed to implement the Incident Command System planning process during an incident response, planning event or exercise. ICS- 341 is designed around a mock maritime disaster involving a vessel fire, with people and oil in the water, near beaches that are environmentally sensitive.
Each morning when the course instructors arrived early to prepare for the day, there was one student who was already in his seat diligently studying his textbook, job aids and other course materials. USCG Auxiliarst Damaso “Gunny” Sutis, who is 84 years young, a retired Gunnery Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps. He joined the corps at the age of 17 in 1943 and was in the third wave landing on the beach in Iwo Jima. He watched the flag being raised on Mt. Suribachi while being pinned down by enemy gunfire. Gunny went on to serve during the remainder of World War II and in the Korean War as well.
Gunny displayed a true passion for learning ICS. He asked great questions, participated in all of the exercises and displayed outstanding leadership skills during the course. When it came time to tabulate the scores for the final exam, Gunny came in at the top of the class scoring 93%! His hard work during the week demonstrated the highest traditions of both the United States Marine Corps and the United States Coast Guard. It was a pleasure and an honor to have him in our class.