MOUNT IDA – Service to God, Country and Family are at the heart of Lieutenant Commander Asa Daniels’ 35 plus years in the United States Coast Guard. He now plans on continuing that same commitment to service in civilian life after his retirement Thursday, June 30.
Lieutenant Commander Daniels retired from over 35 years in the U.S. Coast Guard during a unique retirement ceremony Thursday at the Front Porch Stage in Mount Ida. Commander Michael Dolan stated it was unique because most ceremonies take place where a person is stationed, not where they are going to live after retirement.
Daniels, a native of Pennsylvania, and his wife Tammie chose Mount Ida in a very interesting way. Daniels shared after the ceremony that he and his wife took a dart in hand and threw it at a map of the United States. The decision to move to Mount Ida is just another grand adventure taken by the family who served in 14 locations over the course of 35 plus years in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Daniels started his time in the U.S. Coast Guard in November 1980 as an electronic technician in New York. His first assignment after training was in Mobile, Alabama. He received his first assignment as a Petty Officer in 1984. As he rose through the ranks he served in Baltimore, Maryland; Oak Island, North Carolina; Moriches, New York; Portsmouth, Virginia; Fort Macon, North Carolina; Honolulu, Hawaii; Kodiak, Alaska; Cleveland, Ohio; Anchorage, Alaska; and Millington, Tennessee.
Daniels achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander while serving in Anchorage, Alaska and finished his career as Manpower Requirements Branch Chief at the Navy Manpower Analysis Center in Millington, Tennessee.
The retirement ceremony opened with the arrival of the official party, followed by the National Anthem and an invocation by his son Nicholas Daniels.
The Lieutenant Commander was joined by three members of his family who either currently serve, or are retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in the passing of the Unites States Flag. During the ceremony each of his assignments were mentioned as the flag was passed from one member to another.
Lieutenant Commander Daniels received a host of awards and letters from dignitaries. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for service to his country. He also received letters of appreciation from President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. He also received letters of appreciation from the governors of Arkansas and Alaska. His wife was presented with a letter of appreciation for her service as the spouse of an officer.
Commander Dolan shared a few words about Lieutenant Commander Daniels. He praised Daniels for his faith, service and sense of community. He called Daniels “The salt of the earth”.
The fact that Daniels is committed to faith, service and community continued as three of his children spoke about their father. Nicholas Daniels, Asa Troy Daniels and Haylie Daniels each spoke of their father’s love for God, family and country.
Lieutenant Commander Daniels was welcomed to Montgomery County by members of the Stitchin’ Friends who presented him with a Quilt of Valor. After accepting the gift he stated that the gift was proof that small town America is alive and kicking.
He was also presented with a shadow box built by Luis Dering whom he served with in the U.S. Coast Guard. Dering explained that the shadow box dates back to colonial days in the British Navy. A sailor was not supposed to let his shadow touch the dock before he did as he stepped off the ship for the last time. His shipmates would create a box filled with items from his service and present to him as he left so he could carry a shadow of his service with him, thus allowing him to leave before his shadow.
Lieutenant Commander Daniels was presented with a shadow box filled with items from his 35 plus years in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Commander Dolan read Lieutenant Commander Daniels his final orders as an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard making his retirement official July 1, 2016. The two exited the stage and the ceremony ended with a benediction by his son Nicholas.
Lieutenant Commander Daniels stated in an interview after the ceremony that he was drawn to the Coast Guard as a child growing up in Pennsylvania. He shared that he had an uncle who had served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. However, it was the regular family trips to the New Jersey shore that sold him on the Coast Guard. He explained that when they would go to the beach he would see the Coast Guard base and watch the ships.
“I took a look at those boats and thought I could make a living doing that.” He said.
And a living he did make with over 35 years of service. He served under six presidents while in the Coast Guard.
He cited his faith in God as a key factor in his commitment to service in the U.S. Coast Guard. He stated that sometimes a person is asked to do some things that they don’t want to do in the course of service to their country. He said that his faith has aided him in carrying out his duties to his country.
“I’m thankful every day for God being in my life. He helps me get through every day.” He stated.
Lieutenant Commander Daniels was joined by family and friends for a reception afterward. He stated after the ceremony that he and his wife had no idea what to expect when they arrived in Montgomery County, but fell in love with the area immediately upon arrival. He looks forward to finding a church home and getting involved in the community.
Daniels said that he and his wife Tammie are planning to travel, but look forward to making their home in Montgomery County.