Coast Guard Honors Charlie Smith After 20 Years Of Service

David Creed •

Charlie Smith
Boatswain's Mate First Class (BM1) Charlie Smith was honored for his 20 years of service to the Coast Guard following Friday's Daffodil Wreath Hanging Ceremony.

Six years ago, Charlie Smith arrived on Nantucket for his next assignment as a member of the United States Coast Guard. It didn’t take him long to know he wanted to make the island his home beyond his years with Coast Guard Station Brant Point.

“I got here and learned very quickly that Nantucket is very special,” Smith said. “I knew I wanted to put roots down here. I can’t explain it. This place is very special – one of those island feelings. I knew it very early in my career here that I wanted to stay after I completed my 20 years.”

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Smith, who has been a member of Station Brant Point for six years and held the Boatswain's Mate First Class (BM1) rank, retired from the Coast Guard on Friday following the raising of the daffodil wreath – an annual tradition that Smith has had his hands on ever since arriving to Nantucket. He was honored by the entire Station Brant Point crew through numerous ceremonies with chief petty officer Jeff Wecal and master chief Lance Wiser leading the way.

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Smith hugging his close friend, chief petty officer Jeff Wecal
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Chief Petty Officer Jeff Wecal

Smith was surrounded by friends and family – including his wife Hafsa Lewis, who he coincidentally met through the daffodil wreath tradition.

“I met her with two years to go (in my Coast Guard career). We were neighbors but hadn’t actually met,” Smith said. “She designed the wreath and I built the wreath with the help of the station.”

“The station asked me to help and I said absolutely,” Lewis added. “I show up at the base and this guy is like ‘Hey neighbor’ and I was like ‘Oh yeah!’ Then two weeks later he asked me on a date, and now we are married.”

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Hafsa Lewis, Charlie Smith, and master chief Lance Wiser.
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Smith has had several stops along the way of his career in the Coast Guard including New Jersey, Philadelphia, his home state of Connecticut, Maryland, and then concluded with six years on the island.

His next career move: joining forces with former Station Brant Point master chief and the island’s current harbormaster Sheila Lucey.

“I’ll hopefully be working as the assistant harbormaster for Sheila,” he said with a smile. “Hopefully get in that position. It is a nice transition.

He said there will be an adjustment needed while transitioning away from the Coast Guard but is excited for what his future holds on Nantucket.

“This is something I have known for 20 years. I’ve been told what to do, how to do it, when to do it for 20 years of my life so I am just looking forward to the horizon and a little bit of smooth sailing hopefully," he said.

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