Sealaska shareholder Michelle Roberts has been promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the United States Coast Guard. She is the daughter of Sherry Moreno. Her family says she has become the first known female Native American Chief Petty Officer to serve her country.
Michelle is Tlingit/Eagle/ Dakla’weidi (Killerwhale). Her Tlingit name is Khaaw. aat. Michelle was born in Juneau, Alaska.
Chief Roberts has been serving in active duty status for 14 years. She serves as a Machinery Technician, typically a male-dominated career field. However, she excels in her position and fits in well with her peers. She has accepted leadership positions in her field as an Engineering Petty Officer on two separate occasions. During her military service she also volunteered to deploy to the Kingdom of Bahrain in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009, where she had the honor to receive a personal telephone call from the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to commend her for her service to her country.
Chief Roberts’ military awards include four Coast Guard Achievement Medals with Operational Distinguishing Device, four Coast Guard Good Conduct Medals, Iraqi Campaign Medal, and numerous other individual and unit awards. She has been Sailor of the Quarter, Sailor of the Year, and was nominated as Enlisted Person of the Year.
Currently, Chief Roberts is assigned to the Fast Response Cutter William Trump with missions that include migrant and drug interdictions in Key West, FL. What she enjoys the most about spending time in Florida, and in the Coast Guard, is something her family in Sitka can appreciate: the love of being out on the open water.
She has spent a lot of time in Southeast Alaska, since she moved away at the age of 12. She makes a point visit Sitka, as often as her schedule allows, visiting her mother and many other relatives who reside there. She has eight brothers and sisters living in Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.