History of the Coast Guard Reserve
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In 1990, as the Coast Guard celebrated its Bicentennial, approximately 1,650 Coast Guard Reservists served here in the United States and in the Middle East in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Persian Gulf War). PSU 301, Buffalo; PSU 302, Cleveland; and PSU 303, Milwaukee, deployed during the fall of 1990. Replacement units were trained at Camp Blanding, Fla. with two of them eventually deploying. PSU 301 and 302 were called upon again in 1994 for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, while the Harbor Defense Commands were tested for the first time. In February 1998, PSU 305 was recalled when activities in the Middle East grew tense once again. The unit did not deploy, but remained on alert.
The current Coast Guard Reserve emblem was developed in 1991 for the Reserve’s 50th birthday celebration. That year, the Coast Guard Reserve celebrated across the nation with many special events, including St. Augustine, Fl, considered the birthplace of the Reserve. In November 1992, the Coast Guard SPARs held a 50th reunion in Washington, D.C. with hundreds of SPARs attending and then-94-year-old CAPT Dorothy Stratton the guest speaker.
Reservists were called in to help following Hurricanes Andrew and Iniki, and Typhoon Omar in 1992, the Mississippi River floods of 1993, Red River and Ohio River floods in 1997, the crashes of TWA Flight 800, John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s plane, and again for the crash of Alaskan Air 261 last year. Reservists were recalled following several oil spills in January 1994 including San Juan, P.R., St. Louis, Mo. and Longview, Wash. In June 1994, reservists began Sea Partners training, a marine environmental pollution education program, which continues today. In August/September 1994, reservists assisted the Coast Guard pick up more than 31,000 Cuban migrants in the Straits of Florida.
Following a downsizing of the Reserve program from 12,000 SELRES to 8,000 in 1993-94, a major Reserve program shift occurred in August 1994: Integration. Sometimes referred to as Team Coast Guard, Integration basically disbanded the old Reserve unit structure and placed reservists under the command of Active Duty units.
In 1995, the port security unit program reorganized from their strictly D9 location. By the late 1990s, PSUs were commissioned in six districts around the nation with the unit number corresponding with the district number: PSU 305, Fort Eustis, Va.; PSU 307, St. Petersburg, Fla.; PSU 308, Gulfport, Miss; PSU 309, 313, Tacoma, Wash.
The first Reserve Chief Petty Officers Academy Course graduated in December 1993 at TRACEN Petaluma, and has now graduated 10 classes. Reserve Enlisted Basic Indoctrination (REBI) moved from Petaluma to Cape May and following a short hiatus, started up again in 1994. Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination (ROCI) and Officer Candidate School (OCS) moved from Yorktown to New London when the Leadership Development Center at the CG Academy was formed in 1998.
In 1996, the Office of Readiness & Reserve was reorganized once again, this time as the Directorate of Reserve and Training. The district-level offices of Reserve (r) were disbanded and Integrated Support Commands Force Optimization and Training Division (pf) were put in their place. In 1996, the 2nd Coast Guard District became part of the 8th District and the closing of Governors Island occurred in 1997. On Oct. 5, 1999, Congress passed Public Law 106-695 establishing the Office of the Coast Guard Reserve and the flag-level Director of the Coast Guard Reserve.
Other historical notes of the 1990s include formation of the position of the Reserve Force Master Chief (MCPO Forrest Croom was first to serve, 1991-94), the Reserve Administration & Training Manual (RATMAN) was reorganized into the Reserve Policy Manual (1996), the formation of the MST rating (1999) and dissolution of the DP rating.
In the mid-1990s, the Internet took off and the Reserve Web site went on-line in 1995, with The Reservist magazine following shortly thereafter in April 1996. On March 24, 1999, the first Director of the SPARs, CAPT Stratton, turned 100 years old! Hundreds of well-wishers from across the nation (and even the world) sent her greetings to her home in West Lafayette, Ind. Later that year, the Coast Guard Reserve named its first female Flag officer: RADM Mary P. O’Donnell of Danville, California.
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About the Reserve