PANAMA CITY, Fla. –
Daniel “Dan” Coats, the Ship to Shore Connector (SSC) In-Service Engineering Agent electrical lead at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), takes pride in his Korean heritage.
As a Panama City native, Coats graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
“My father was in the Air Force for 20 years and I was the retirement baby,” Coats said. “I grew up mainly in the local area, but I also lived in Georgia for a period of time.”
Coats visited South Korea when he was about 4 years old and met some of his Korean relatives for the first time. He returned to learn more about his family’s heritage and lineage after embarking on duty overseas.
“I never had plans on going back to South Korea, but the opportunity arose in 2015 after completion of a temporary duty assignment,” Coats explained. “I met up with my uncle and he put together a great itinerary for me highlighting parts of South Korea’s culture and ancestral history. At the time I only knew of the Korean War, but soon learned that South Korea’s great history goes back more than 3000 years.”
With the assistance of his uncle, Coats was immersed with his Korean heritage, visiting famous historical sites, as well as modern structures.
“I got to see the famous (rebuilt) Gyeongbokgung Palace, visit Namhansanseong Mountain, a Hanbok Village, and modern places like Seoul Tower,” Coats said. “I learned about King Sejong the Great, who created the modern day Korean alphabet, and the famous Korean Admiral Yi Sun-Shin who fought off the Japanese invasion during the 1590s.”
Cuisine is also part of experiencing Korean heritage and Coats seized the occasion to sample the fare.
“I did get to eat a lot of really good food, partake in karaoke and even try something called ‘chimaek,’ also known as chicken and beer,” remarked Coats. “It was a great experience and I’m thankful for the opportunity to revisit South Korea. I have a newfound pride in Korean history after that trip.”
Currently, as the ISEA Electrical lead for the new SSC, Gen 2 Landing Craft Air Cushion, Coats works with a team of electrical engineers and electrical technicians to develop solutions for urgent needs that arise from testing, sponsor directed tasks, and improving on the current design.
“A career highlight was being part of the US Marine Corps Modernized M9ACE program and I got to see firsthand the Defense Acquisition University training come into play,” said Coats. “I was on the program and participated as engineering support for testing and production.”
In his current role, Coats provides troubleshooting support and technical solutions with the SSC platform.
“I have had the opportunity to work side by side with on-site support representatives and Sailors from Assault Craft Unit Four in identifying issues, developing solutions and providing training,” he said. “During my career here, I’ve also received three team patent awards.”
Coats had been with NSWC PCD for 13 years and his ambition for life-long learning has made him a valuable member of the NSWC PCD workforce.