Veteran of the Month: Blake Novak

Blake Novak

By Milan Eagle media

Blake Novak moved to Milan in 1987 and graduated from Milan HS in 1991. He loved growing up in small towns like Milan because of the close knit community, but he wanted to explore the world and travel. Blake chose to attend a military school to meet that goal and to be in a structured environment to make sure he finished college. He chose the US Coast Guard because of their mission as a humanitarian military service focused on saving lives and helping people.
He graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1995 and has served for 23 years, moved 12 times throughout the US, served for one year overseas in Operation Iraqi Freedom and two years in the White House as the Military Aide to Vice President Cheney and Biden. Blake’s primary profession in the Coast Guard is as a “Cutterman” which means he has chosen to work aboard ships where he has over 10 years at sea serving on various ships ranging from 82 to 270 feet.
Looking back at his career, his most memorable experiences are working at the White House and serving at sea with amazing young people who are working hard to secure our freedom. Working at the White House, he will never forget his first day of duty alone when he travelled in a motorcade to the US Capitol for a meeting between the Vice President and members of Congress. It was emotional because he felt humbled and fortunate to be in a position of responsibility looking after our most senior members of government. Deploying at sea aboard ships is a unique experience because you spend 24 hours a day together for 2-3 months at a time. The bond developed between shipmates lasts a lifetime. It is something very special which is hard for anyone to understand who has not been deployed in the military. You experience trials and tribulations daily together, sharing personal stories and always taking care of each other. Your differences must be set aside because you must trust your shipmates to look after each other to get the job done and it doesn’t matter whether you “like” each other or not. You are constantly placing your life in your shipmate’s hands.
Now that he’s more senior, his favorite thing about going to sea is working closely with young people who have never deployed. In the beginning they are understandably nervous and excited but after a year, they become teachers for new shipmates. He said, “it is very rewarding to see our young people grow professionally and personally.”
If he had one piece of advice for young people, ”it would be to challenge yourself and hold yourself accountable for your own actions and destiny. Life is not fair and obstacles will always be placed in your way unexpectedly. Are you the type of person who quits at the first sign of struggle, or will you keep pushing, working, and striving to find a way?”
Since the photo was taken, Blake has been promoted to Captain. Stationed in Alameda, CA, he’s the District 11 Chief of Enforcement, responsible for all Coast Guard law enforcement between California/Oregon border and the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

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