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From the Editor - In September, my family started the 2020-2021 school year from home, and I tell you what—we are just as busy as we were whe we were all going out in a normal, pre-pandemic world.
My husband and I are both Coast Guard civilians, as well as Coast Guard reservists, and when you add in proctoring school for our three sons, it feel like the world needs to stop spinning this fast. Feels like I need an eighth day of the week so I can catch my breath…
Two thoughts on this, though
The first one, short and sweet: “Busy is a decision.” This is a quote from Debbie Millman, a brilliant designer interviewed by Tim Ferriss on his podcast (And you know how I love podcasts.)
She talked about how it’s become cultural cachet to use being busy as an excuse. Millman continued: “We do the things we want to do, period. If w say we are too busy, it is shorthand for ‘not important enough.’ It means you would rather be doing something else that you consider more important… You don’t find the time to do something; you make the time to do things.” That’s so honest, I get a chill reading it
So, hold that thought for a second while I give you another. I read an article in the Harvard Business Review titled “Stop Feeling Guilty About Your ToDo List,” which basically said that we need to make peace with the notion that we’ll never, ever be caught up. No matter how much we game it out, there are always going to be those quick turn-around items, as well as those chance opportunities to counsel, mentor, teach and listen. And besides, lists are just guides; we’re not robots. We’re re-prioritizing. As a type-A person with lists long enough to tie my corframs together, I admit, this is a hard pill to take. My day feels like it’s done when my list is all checked off
And yet, if I think about it just a hair longer, the relief creeps into the corners of my mind when I admit that this level of rigidity is setting me up for failure. This set of ideas is more than just good advice for how to manage the routine of school and work during a pandemic—this is a strategy for a life well-lived. When you slough off that busy-ness and routine, and focus your time and effort on the diamond priorities, things become clearer… and just a little easier. I’ve had to rearrange a lot of things in my life to make sure my family stays #1, my expectations for myself stay reasonable, and my commands (both civilian and military) stay well-informed. There’s dozens of ways the routine can get tripped up, but I try not to think too far ahead of myself. One day at a time. So, I have to remember these two concepts: distilling your effort to the most important things, and stay focused on the long game, even when the day gets away from you. This concept is still tough for a type-A like me; I’m not used to relinquishing control—the idea still needs some marinating.
I wrote myself a sticky note with a half-dead Sharpie and posted it near my desk in my new home office—a second-hand dining room table with a small laptop. My husband sits opposite me, at the other end of the table, and we take turns being the parent-on-call, fielding questions from our children, making the lunches, reviewing the homework—this in between calls from our bosses, meetings via videoconference, and weaving in the odd day or two per week in the office.
But, now is the winter of our discontent; life is still moving forward. This is my final issue before starting a set of active duty orders for the 2021 Inauguration. I worked on the 2017 Inauguration as well, just before accepting this job. Working with the five-service joint task force to put on the ceremonial parts of the Inauguration was one of the most rewarding opportunities of my Coast Guard career, and, while it came with its challenges, I’m looking forward to doing it again.
Doesn’t mean I’ll forget you, dear readers. Email your story ideas at TheReservist@uscg.mil, and I’ll put them together for a springtime issue, around February 2021. I’ll be back in a few months; be good while I’m away
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From the Editor - In September, my family started the 2020-2021 school year from home, and I tell you what—we are just as busy as we were when we were all going out in a normal, pre-pandemic world.
I remember when the coronavirus first hit, and I was thinking how glad I was that we had just wrapped the previous issue at the beginning of March.
Trying to wash anything my kids touched, coordinating work-from-home schedules, sharing childcare and teaching responsibilities with my husband, navigating the unknown… it took a toll, but at least the latest issue of the magazine was out.
I was happy I’d scheduled my ADT for around late March, as I do every year, but not as happy as my command, who was thrilled to have me show up during such a busy, uncertain time.
When I was working on the Coast Guard’s coronavirus website—writing articles for it, writing the FAQs that you might have read—it felt good to have a hand in something that was providing help. The effect of having a finished product at the end of the day, having made a little progress in something, it just felt cathartic in a way.
But I know I’m one of the lucky ones who still got to go to work when all this was happening. I know many readers who didn’t, who had their drills and ADT canceled without a clear plan for rescheduling, and are still reeling from the effects. And when you add to it the complications from the glitch with the hard stop in Direct Access on scheduling or changing drills after May 1… we’ve just been thrown, collectively, for a loop.
In fact, one petty officer I interviewed for one of the stories in this issue told me, “I don’t even remember how to be a reservist anymore.”
It does feel like a confusing time.
One thing that remains the same at a time like this is how relevant the Reserve is, how needed we are. And the thing that makes us, as reservists, shine is our ability to adapt to the unknown. To show up to a role during coronavirus and know it’s not the first time we’ve been called to serve in an unfamiliar role, and we adapted and succeeded.
This is not our first rodeo!
We’re used to things being out of place, doing things with half the information. In fact, I saw a few jokes about the rest of the Coast Guard trying to telework under conditions that reservists experience EVERY TIME we log in remotely.
Welcome to the dark side, shipmates.
But, a rising tide lifts all boats, and there’s a lot of good on the horizon. If you read our admiral’s View from the Bridge column on page 6, you’ll see there’s actually a lot of much-needed change coming down the pike. I’m really excited for the FlexPal.
In the meantime, keep your masks handy and stay tuned as we navigate these waters together.
From the Editor - I heard something interesting the other day.
As I’ve said before in this column, I really enjoy podcasts. Comedy, leadership, news, two Coast Guard podcasts, and a few tailor-made for a type A person like me. This tidbit came from a productivity podcast called “Hurry Slowly.”
In one episode, host Jocelyn Glei was interviewing an author, Alex Pang, on how rest influences the creative process. He said:
"Winston Churchill, in a wonderful book called 'Painting as a Pastime' talks about how real relaxation doesn't come from doing nothing at all, if you're a busy person, but rather doing something different. 'An alternative outlook, a change of
atmosphere, a diversion of effort is essential,' as he says.
There's a fantastic study a few years ago of military reservists that found that military reservists, when they come back from a couple weeks or a month of service, turn out to exhibit the
same kinds of psychological benefits that people who's been on vacation exhibit.
The fact that they were off doing different kinds of things—even though they were physically strenuous, even though they were wearing a uniform—turned out to be really good for their attitudes and their resilience and their productivity at work.”
Many of us who are (or were) reservists look(ed) forward to our reserve jobs as a break from the busy-ness (or the tedium) of our normal
lives. We attack challenges with a fresh set of eyes,ready to work. But do we ever note how we feel when we go back to our civilian jobs? It feels good to come back refreshed, appreciative, ready to work!
Balancing a dual career might be complicated, but the grit and maturity that come from taking on new leadership opportunities and adapting to new situations has a lot of value. We reservists know that the good attitude, resilience and productivity Pang mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of serving your country.
Now, excuse me… it’s time to get back to work!
From the Editor - I’ve always been a stickler for uniforms. One of my favorite sayings is, “The standard you walk by is the standard you accept.” My friends know me as the person who’s eternally checking gig lines, hair styles, crow spacing, ribbon order… but even after 20 years in the Coast Guard, I still have to doublecheck some things.
As a reserve officer, it’s a mark of my professionalism that I have each piece right. The importance of the uniform is even reflected in the first step of the Use of Force Continuum: Officer Presence. The atmosphere of compliance is created, in part, by the officer’s appearance, and the uniform is a big part of that. As Mark Twain said, “A policeman in plain clothes is a man; in his uniform, he is ten.”
With that in mind, we’re honored to put together this issue for you, but keep in mind, this isn’t a replacement for the Uniform Regulations; it’s a quick-reference guide.
The original Uniform Issue was a major undertaking, produced for reservists back in 2006 by the original dream team, CWO Ed Kruska and Chris Rose; it quickly became recognized as a great reference for active duty members as well. I know lots of people have been waiting for this one to replace the battered 2006 edition they have squirreled away.
The six people on the front cover have become wellknown, and the wording and images from that issue are all over the internet, even used by the Coast Guard Headquarters Uniform Program itself.
Inside this latest edition, you’ll find all the old standards, but also some changes, including the NWU Type III.
We have an updated history article that explores the more recent history of our uniform, starting with the Bender Blues and going forward to today’s untucked ODU. There’s also a story on how our Uniform Program works together with the UDC, the online exchange and the research department to keep our members looking sharp.
And should you see something that you’d like changed in the Uniform Regulations, you can request it. Send your change through your command to PSC-PSU-MU. Include the idea/issue, the suggestion (including costs and benefits to the service), alternative solutions and enclosures if necessary. Email your suggestions to HQS-SMB-PSC-PSD-MU@uscg.mil.
Again, the standard you walk by is the standard you accept. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make us not just the world’s premier Coast Guard, but also the sharpest looking as well.
From the Editor - Well, That was quite a break we had. Sorry for the interruption in your magazines; we had a little shake-up with the government, and our normal February issue went by the wayside. In the meantime, I hope you got time to look at the new Uniform Issue.
That was a labor of love for me, and a huge undertaking for Chris, our art director, who did a ton of work from creating a fresh cover to shooting the photos to creating some of the insignia.
There’s an old quote, usually incorrectly attributed to Buddha: “If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.” For me, working on the Uniform Issue felt like that. While I was checking and reviewing everything in there, I got to know the uniform regulations pretty intimately. Same for writing the story of the history of the uniform.
So, onto this month, which is our big move to the new governance structure. Chris and I will move with the magazine from CG-1313 to the Component Policy and Strategic Communications Division, called CG-R55. No impact on your subscriptions, dear readers. But there IS change afoot for the rest of the Coast Guard Reserve. It’ll be nice to have a flag officer focused solely on the Reserve agenda. I have a feeling this is going to be big for us as reservists, and that it’ll address many of the broken pieces in the Reserve while holding the right people accountable to strategically improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our component.
You already bring the professionalism and competence. This fix brings the synergy.
What’s next for the magazine? I’m ginning up something like the old retiree issue, but not solely for retirees. This would lay out the financial side of being a reservist— both before and after they retire. Questions like how does Direct Access work best for reservists? How can I stop my pay from getting off track when bouncing between active duty and drills? What’s the Survivor Benefit Plan and how does it work? How can I calculate my estimated monthly retirement? What’s the cost of Tricare for retired reservists?
I think an issue like that could be a good reference for our reservists.
Now, the squeakiest wheels get the oil, but, as Susan Cain, the "Quiet" author, said in her TED Talk, “There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” If there’s something you’d like to see us put into print, you lose nothing by reaching out.
Drop me a line at – email@example.com.
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From the Editor - I just got back from a quick trip to the Coast Guard's Atlantic Area. I was one of the more than 100 reservists involuntarily recalled for the response to Hurricane Dorian. Being the public affairs type, I worked a few intense days handling national media calls with the LANTAREA command.
I wasn't on active duty form more than a handful of days when we realized that Dorian would only brush against the east coast, rather than have a full-on impact. My command told me, "Go home, wash your uniforms and get ready for the next one."
They were only half-joking. I think most Coast Guard reservists have spent that last few hurricane seasons with one eye on the news. (Our family, doubly so, as my husband is also a drilling reservist. Our sons are worried about us both being recalled simultaneously again, and I guess I'm a little worried about that, too.)
Still, I wouldn't trade this job. Reservist are in their element in these contingencies. In just that last two months, Coast Guard reservists have been recalled for that Southwest border mission, the response to Hurricane Dorian, and the Golden Ray case in Georgia. There's no shortage of opportunities to get in there and support the Coast Guard's mission alongside our active duty brothers and sisters. I didn't even mention the folks taking active duty assignments to give new parents among us a little time to bond with their new babies. Good, good stuff.
The last Issue we out was sent a few days before the Reserve Component Leadership Conference in June. I met so many members of the SRO and badge communities. I loved putting the faces to the names I've read in emails and voices I've spoken to over the phone! They really went to bat to frontload leadership with the unvarnished truth, and I listed a few of the best quotes below.
I only had a few weeks to wrap up this issue, but I had to say, one of my favorite stories I covered in this issue was about podcasts. I'm a pretty big aficionado of podcasts myself, so when I heard the new BM RFMC, Master Chief Petty Offcier Mike Ellis, was communicating using this new(ish) medium, I called him to chat. (Side note: Ellis, while working full time at his last job, officer-in-charge of the Greenbriar, was also serving as a part-time polices officer for his town. Who understands the reserve life better than a guy like that?)
Ellis's podcast, Couse Made Good, does deep-dives on Coast Guard topics, and, while I'm always going to think my rating is the best one, I have to say I've learned a lot from listening to his guests (detailers, instructors, training petty officers, etc.). Same thing for another great podcast, They Had to Go Out, in which two chiefs interview retirees about their "most dangerous, daring or epic sea story or stories." I'm subscribed to both podcasts, and you can read more about them on page 42.
Another great read is from each other of the two guest columnists for this issue. First, in View from the Bridge, we have the new Assistant Commandant for Reserve, Rear Adm. Todd Wiemers, who's talking the successful strategy he used to create the Boat Forces Reserve Managements Plan and applying it to the whole of the our senior enlisted leaders from the active duty side, Master Chief Petty Officer Josh McKenzie, the new MK RFMC, shows off his plans for the reserve MKs.
That wraps this issue, and we've just begun work on another: Through I'm back at my desk in my civvies, my Coast Guard uniforms are washed, and my bag is packed, ready to go.
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From the Editor - I’m so glad to be back on track. You may have noticed that our fall issue arrived closer to February. Due to some contract negotiations with our publisher, we had a three-month delay in getting the magazine out to you. We’ll be on schedule again here shortly.
THOSE HURRICANES THOUGH! I told you it would take two issues to cover it, and here we are. Last issue, we covered the operations. This time… we cover the reservists themselves. You know we sent 1,300 people down to help? Some hardchargers are still there. I met so many good people during my deployment, and I wish I could cover more of their stories.
Some of my fellow PAs joined me in bringing you stories of those reservists who left their civilian jobs to respond. We tried to get one person from each area, Houston, Key West, San Juan, etc., but getting these people to talk about themselves was like pulling teeth. To a person, they all passed credit to their Coast Guard shipmates, and each was awed by the resiliency of the people they were serving.
I tell you what – just the most interesting people…. I never get tired of writing about the caliber of people the Reserve brings to the table. They hold down demanding jobs in the civilian world while staying on retainer to plus up the Reserve in times of need.
For example, in this issue, you’ll meet a doctor who became an HS3; an MST2 who called upon his experience as a water safety specialist; reservists who, as company commanders, train active duty; a BM3 who, as a medical tech, recognized trauma symptoms and saved a woman’s life on the streets of San Juan.
In the Taps section at the back, we’ll honor two shipmates who are too young to be lost this early. If you didn’t know Chief Johnson or ME1 Copeland, you’ll wish you had.
Finally, after thirteen years, it’s time to update our infamous UNIFORM ISSUE! (We’re not wearing the tucked ODUs anymore, it’s about time for a new copy…) Any questions, recommendations or requests, please send them in – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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From the Editor - Another transfer season is upon us! Without a doubt, one of our biggest losses is Master Chief Johnson, the outgoing Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve, and a fellow motorcycle rider! You might not know his face well, even though you’re likely affected by his efforts to shape policy. It was rare to see a picture of him in the magazine during his tenure, and that's the way he liked it. Master Chief found a way to make sure others were always recognized before himself—a true chief’s chief. I’ll miss having such a great sounding board nearby, but looking forward to good things from the new MCPO-CGR, Master Chief Williamson.
As I tell the Reserve story, I keep meeting the best people. Thanks first to Senior Chief James Krise of Station St. Inigoes and his crew for showing me around last month. Those are some talented professionals with great stories, both in uniform and in their civilian lives.
I’m especially indebted to CWO2 Michael Cash who spent hours explaining the new firearms training program (page 18) to me in detail. I love seeing someone who’s passionate about their craft nail a project down so well.
Next, Chief Donald Wiggins of the Naval Engineering Support Team in Fort Macon stood out as another person passionate about his work. His command views him as a whiz at Coast Guard mechanical systems, and he loves his job as the primary mechanic for one Army unit’s worth of boats and firetrucks. He happened to send me a very proud photo of his engineers at a rare Honda engine class, which couldn’t have happened without his initiative and some help from his RFRS staff. Great story, see page 34.
And last, on page 35, it was wonderful to witness Adm. Zukunft introduce Capt. Walter Handy at the event in March where the captain received a lifetime achievement award from the Reserve Officers Association. He met the officers in the positions he helped create and defend. I’ve never seen him smile so often, and as I watched him shake hands with one person after another, it was one of those satisfying life moments when everything just clicks.
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From the Editor - I can count on some great mentors in my life, the first and strongest being my mother. After her, Master Chief Buck Ward (leadership), Master Chief Jeff Smith (editing), CWO Luke Pinneo (writing), Maj. Antony Andreas (self-discipline). I soak up these brass-tacks discussions with my friends and mentors, people who challenge me to be better.
When I was little, I spent a lot of time working with my dad in his woodshop in the basement. When we’d get into discussions, I remember him telling me that what mattered was that I gave everything to the effort. He'd ask, “Were you the best Stacey Burns you could be?”
Such a simple strategy for helping a child be the best version of herself. As Coast Guardsmen, we need to keep that mentor in our lives, constantly challenging us to be the best versions of ourselves.
Blaine Meserve-Nibley works in Coast Guard recruiting, training recruiters in how to recruit reservists. He helps them understand where the applicants are coming from, and how to connect an applicant to the “why.” As in, “Why do you want to serve?” He showed me a part of his presentation, which involves a video of a talk given by Simon Sinek entitled, “The Millennial Question."
Now, don’t let the title throw you off. I appreciated Sinek’s points about millennials, but one of the more salient points he made toward the end of the talk was about technology.
I used to think technology was making me into the most efficient version of myself, and thereby, the best version. My calendar appointments were set to chime, keeping me on track. My gps app got me from A to B in the fastest time possible. My phone conversations were reduced to a single line text message.
But efficient isn’t always best. My sons have never seen me page slowly through a newspaper, stop to ask for directions or randomly pop by a friend’s house for cup of coffee—interactions that make life slower and more meaningful.
On top of that, Sinek points to the dopamine effect of social media and technology (the happiness of getting a message or a “like”) as an addiction.
“If you’re at dinner with your friends, and you’re texting someone who’s not there, that’s a problem. That’s an addiction. If you’re sitting in a meeting with people you’re supposed to be listening and speaking to, and you put your phone on the table, that sends a subconscious message to the room: ‘you’re just not that important.’ The fact that you can’t put the phone away, that’s because you’re addicted. If you wake up and check your phone before saying good morning… you have an addiction.”
I’m guilty of checking my phone as I wait for a meeting to start, rather than looking around the table and starting conversations. “THAT’s where trust starts,” said Sinek, citing the need for the opportunity to form relationships slowly. When he goes to dinner, he leaves his phone at home, because he said, “Ideas happen when your mind wanders. That’s called innovation, but we’re taking away all those little moments.”
&Trust. Relationships. Innovation. Things we all need to be a better version of ourselves. Thanks, Blaine, for being a great mentor, to me and to countless recruiters I know you’ve inspired. Thank you to those of you who reach down to mentor others. It’s our duty to make ourselves better as Coast Guardsmen, and to pass that knowledge on to others.
Wrap a rubber band around your phone and put it down. Enjoy your summer, friends.
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From the Editor - Sometimes my job is like a wedding photographer; taking pictures when everything is polished and beautiful is easy. Same with writing about the Reserve; the people are so good and so talented, the stories write themselves.
This issue has lots of great people: the gold medal winners of the Micro Games, Todd Genereux and Mary Gillan, have such passion for their sports. They train in their spare time for these Olympic-style sporting events while working full-time... and also finding time to serve their country.
And there's hurricane hunter Steve Jayne—not your average MKC. Who knew we had an MIT scientist working quietly behind the scenes developing technology to predict hurricane intensity AND placing it in the path of a hurricane? The data from Chief Jayne's instruments feeds the National Weather Service, which, in turn, feeds the news reports you listen to. He's like a double lifesaver.
Three more young Reserve professionals were highlighted in a Buzzfeed article about female leadership. Brittny Thompson, Chrissie Edwards and Melissa Sprout, it was an honor to write about each of you. You blend in so seamlessly that it took insider knowledge to realize you were reservists. Each of you is an asset to your command.
Finally, great stuff from our Deckplate columnist this issue, Master Chief Ed Lewis. Back in 2013, CMC Lewis wrote an article about how the Coast Guard was missing the boat on the potential found among its members, because if you only look at someone's rank and military qualifications, you miss all the talent and experience they possess as civilians. Lewis is working to change that through a credentialing program that lets you bring your civilian credentials to the military, and when you leave the service, the same program will translate your Coast Guard credentials for use on the civilian side. Good stuff.
One last thing… Our magazine has been something people look forward to for the last two decades because of one man. While the editor has changed a few times, our art director, Chris Rose, has been the mainstay of the magazine. A former Coast Guardsman himself, Chris is a treasure trove of history and service knowledge. In addition to laying out all the photos and text for every copy of the magazine in the last 20 years, he’s also created many of the logos Coast Guard organizations and units recognize and use today.
Congratulations on 20 years at the magazine, Chris. On behalf of Ed, Isaac, Jeff and myself, this magazine wouldn’t be what it is without you.
From the Editor - With my pending retirement in April, my time as Editor of the RESERVIST is drawing to a close. Depending on how the hiring process goes this could very well be my last column. So, with that in mind I would like to share the philosophy which has guided me during my tenure. I will attempt to do so by sharing an experience more than twenty years in the making.
Upon assuming the duties of editor my first priority was to ‘do no harm.’ There is a certain joy and satisfaction to be found in the responsibility of constructive stewardship. The Coast Guard, more specifically Chief Boatswain Mate Tom Branco, taught me to always leave things better than I found them. By embracing this simple wisdom, I’d like to think I have enjoyed some success in this regard.
A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to have a neighbor lady, Miss Charlotte Kent, bequeath me an old rowing dory she owned. The dory had been sitting in her boat house unattended for many, many years. Miss Kent, then in her eighties, and her sister had used the dory as young girls growing up at Kent's Point on The River in Orleans, Massachusetts.
Having spent countless days roaming the point and on The River as a child, it was really special to be entrusted with this piece of local history. According to Miss Kent, the dory was built by a local man in the early 1900s. It has a keel and ribs of oak with white cedar planking...lots of both can be found on Cape Cod.
My brother Jim and I tried to refit the dory but she needed more than we could offer. We found a local Boatwright who got her fit for the water. That was some twenty years ago. Then life happened and the dory, now rightly known as the MISS KENT, was stored away...out of sight, but not out of mind.
Last summer I met another Boatwright, Penn Colbert. Penn represents what has always been so unique and endearing about the Cape. After a brief conversation he agreed to take a look at the MISS KENT. Sometime later I got the two of them together and it was love at first sight. Penn spent the winter of 2015-16 ever so lovingly bringing the dory back to her glory days. I am very grateful for the care he has taken to get her ship shape.
My dream has always been to have her back where she belongs, on The River, where she, and I, can help a child experience the simple wonder of rowing a small but majestic vessel in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Thanks to Penn that dream has become a reality.
And, like the MISS KENT, hopefully the RESERVIST is, in some small way, better for my time as its helm. Ultimately that is for you, the reader, to determine. What I can say is that it has been a privilege to play a small part in the magazine’s long and impressive history. There are not many publications which can say they have published continually for 64 years.span>
To my relief I offer my sincerest best wishes for continued success and share Chief Branco’s simple advice: always strive to be a good steward of what you have been entrusted.
From the Editor - In my last column I told you I was unsure whether or not it would be my last. Obviously, it was not.
While the machinations of the federal government hiring process have temporarily stalled the hiring of a civilian replacement, CWO Anastasia Devlin will be taking over as the RESERVIST editor. You may recognize CWO Devlin’s name as she has been providing editorial content to the magazine on a regular basis, most notably the recent yearlong focus on the 75th anniversary of the Coast Guard Reserve. A reservist herself, CWO Devlin brings a blend of active duty and Reserve public affairs expertise to the role of editor. I am very confident she will continue to provide the magazine’s readership with important and interesting information.
Speaking of interesting, the RESERVIST was extremely fortunate to discover a significant piece of Reserve history in the person of Capt. Walter K. Handy, USCGR (ret.). Capt. Handy, who turned 99 years young in March, was one of the very first members of the Reserve, enlisting in 1942. It was such a treat for me to visit with him in his western Virginia home and listen as he matter-of-factly recounted the struggles of establishing and sustaining the fledgling service: struggles that are not that much different today.
I too have struggled with what I would write as this chapter of my life’s journey comes to closure. Over the past six months two things have occurred which have influenced and solidified my thoughts as I depart an organization that has been a significant part of my life for more than 45 years. The first was reading a book given to me entitled; “The Coast Guard’s TRs” written in 1947, by Lt.j.g. Malcolm F. Willoughby, USCGR. The book recounts the extraordinary service provided to our country during the Second World War by members of the Temporary Reserve (TR). TRs were unpaid volunteers who performed all manner of Coast Guard missions – from operating picket boats to shore side patrols -- freeing up full time personnel for higher priority duties. Willoughby’s book focuses on the First Naval District (New England) but is representative of TR contributions nation-wide. The second was listening to Walter Handy speak with such pride, caring and fondness of his Coast Guard Reserve service, which spanned the dark days following the attack on Pearl Harbor up through the mid-1970s.
My take away from both is simple: while not special, reservists are unique. Why do I make that distinction between special and unique? In my view, based on nearly four decades of observation, it takes a unique individual to accept a role which is primarily, to use a sports metaphor, coming off the bench; to be productive and satisfied with the limited playing time given and gracious and accepting when it expires. And, be prepared to do it again and again – almost always with no discernible difference in performance and not infrequently at a higher level than the ‘starters’ -- to the point where it is accepted and expected as common place.
In my humble opinion it is this intangible commitment to subjugate the individual’s ego to the organization, while not expecting any quid pro quo in return, that is the common thread woven into the fabric of every reservist. To each of you I offer the following, along with my deepest admiration and respect.
From the Editor - It's pretty rare It’s pretty rare in your career that you walk in the door to take over an operation and find that it’s already running like a well-oiled machine. As a newspaper man and the longest-serving Reserve Force Master Chief, Jeff Smith came with skills, contacts and experience, and he spent the last five years finely-tuning this magazine. I’ve got some big shoes for me to fill, but I’m blessed to be able to lean on Jeff, still, as a mentor and a friend.
I’ve been writing articles for RESERVIST magazine for the last two years or so, and most of that time has been spent looking backward, learning the history of the component’s missions, getting to know its leaders and hearing about the challenges that shaped the Reserve. Now, sitting in the editor’s chair, I’m looking forward to exploring how the Reserve positioning itself to meet challenges in the future.
Adm. Thad Allen once said, “Transparency of information breeds self-correcting behavior.” I like that, and I believe talking about our plans and getting feedback from those who’ve come before can only make us stronger.
As a type A, I like seeing things organized, and so this job suits me. From my vantage point, I can see good people using strategy and innovation to solve problems, from schools to RCD to competencies. I’m looking forward to helping our readers understand those processes, too.
So, in true “incoming guy” fashion, I’ll keep this short. This is a dream job, and an honor. Looking forward to it.
From the Editor - In late August, I was on vacation in western North Carolina when I got a call from Senior Chief Ryan Doss. My family and I were staying so far back in the woods that internet was spotty, so it was the first I’d heard the news. “Houston is underwater,” Ryan said. “It’s like Katrina.
A string of hurricanes sent the Coast Guard scrambling to cover three major regions, prompting the largest recall of reservists in seven years. My husband mobilized to support the National Strike Force.
Like everyone else, I was focused on Hurricane Harvey and Irma,similarities to Hurricane Katrina, and the effects of apps and social media on rescue efforts. We created the magazine based on the response to Harvey and Irma. And then the full reports on just how badly Puerto Rico had been hit started rolling in. Just a month after I’d accepted this job as a civilian, I put my own uniform back on and left for the island. (Thanks for taking care of our boys, Mom.)
I wish I could have seen Puerto Rico when all the trees were still standing. Driving in San Juan was like the wild, wild west – few street signs and no traffic lights. Aquadilla was even worse – power lines rested on top of empty businesses in town after town. We carried our phone chargers everywhere with us, and people stayed in tents or on air mattresses. Air conditioning was a luxury, and the generator noise was unending.
Despite the logistics, Coast Guardsmen were excited to be there working, -- even on their off-days, when they volunteered to serve the surrounding community.
It always made me smile when I’d ask a group of Coast Guardsmen if there were any reservists among them. They’d all look at each other, surprised to see which shipmates were from the Reserve. The question usually hadn’t come up, because the reservists had blended so seamlessly.
I met officers and enlisted who, a month earlier, had been police officers, salesmen, nurses, technicians, fire fighters, small business owners and farmers -- all people who’d dropped their plans on 48 hours’ notice, explained to their bosses and families that they had to leave. Some reservists even left their own storm-damaged homes to put on their uniforms and report to work. It never failed to knock me back a step to hear their stories. As reservists, you know we don’t do this job for the paycheck or the accolades. It’s not always fun or convenient, but we do it because it calls to us, because it feels right to serve, and because we love doing this job alongside our brothers and sisters..
A big part of this issue focuses on photos, because there’s no better way to convey the scope of the problem our Service faced in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. In our next (winter) issue, we’ll feature stories on the reservists themselves.
I’m home now, but I miss Puerto Rico. I liked the PA crew I worked with, and I liked the people of Sector San Juan and Air Station Borinquen who showed such hospitality to their expanded, temporary crew. The San Juan community was sweet and welcoming, and the salsa music was joyful and intense. Man, the music just poured constantly from shops and cars and restaurants.
One day, I'm going to go back to the island, maybe when the trees are green again and the generators are gone. Until then, there's still a lot of work to be done.
A number of years ago I was fortunate enough to have a neighbor lady, Miss Charlotte Kent, bequeath me an old rowing dory she owned. The dory had been sitting in her boat house unattended for many, many years. Miss Kent, then in her eighties, and her sister had used the dory as young girls growing up at Kent's Point on The River in Orleans, Massachusetts.
And, like the MISS KENT, hopefully the RESERVIST is, in some small way, better for my time as its helm. Ultimately that is for you, the reader, to determine. What I can say is that it has been a privilege to play a small part in the magazine’s long and impressive history. There are not many publications which can say they have published continually for 64 years.
As always, thanks for reading.
From the Editor - This issue of the RESERVIST continues our year-long focus on the Coast Guard Reserve’s 75th Anniversary spotlighting how the Reserve Component adapted from a primarily national defense posture to playing an integral role in the Coast Guard’s contingency response capability.
In Part II of her 75th Anniversary series, CWO Anastasia Devlin outlines how the component, created in response to the domestic port security demands of the Second World War, transitioned into a vital domestic contingency response capability. CWO Devlin looks at how the 1972 change to Title 14 of U. S. Code authorized augmentation of the active duty Coast Guard for response to natural or man-made disasters. The first use of this authority took place the following year to assist with flooding in the Midwest: a utilization that continues today. Over the next four decades Reserve personnel, both individually and collectively, have adapted to support contingency and surge operations from the Caribbean (Mariel Boat Lift) to Valdez, Alaska (EXXON VALDEZ) and from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf Coast. Today, the Coast Guard Reserve remains as adaptable and ambidextrous as ever. As real world circumstances dictate, reservists shift seamlessly between humanitarian and environmental response providing national defense at home and overseas.
In our Shipmates In Focus section, you will read about what lighthouse duty was like for a former reservist during the 50s and 60s. Ed Picullel shares his memories and his poem about service is a simpler time. You will also find a story about off-duty heroism which recounts how YN1 Tom Yarbrough was truly Semper Paratus.
For a heart-warming story about the human spirit and sacrifice be sure to check out the Retiree SITREP section and read how the spouse of a Reserve retiree saved the life of another retiree living 3,000 miles away.
From the Editor - It has been my long held belief that you can observe and learn many life lessons from the world of sports. I am not talking about the world of professional sports, though lessons abound there as well, but rather about the hundreds of thousands of amateur sports venues around the country from Pop Warner Football to Little League Baseball. One of these lessons occurred one summer when one of my sons was playing Little League ball. It was then, I think, that I first began to internalize the difference between being part of a team rather than just being on a team.
The back story may sound familiar. League rules require that all kids play at least two innings per seven-inning game. Our team was pretty competitive and made a four team post-season playoff. During the season the coaching staff played by the rules, but played to win. The “better” players usually played the first 5 innings with the bench players getting plugged in to meet the league minimum playing time rule; generally at the end when the outcome was pretty much decided.
We made it to the semi-finals. It was a very close game as it entered the final two innings. The other team had been changing players out earlier in the game, but we had not. With the game on the line, the coach went to the bench players so as not to be in violation of the rules. In the end we lost and the coach was terribly upset with the play of the substitutes. Muttering to us parents something to the effect of, “Did you see the way they played? Didn’t they realize how important this was?” It was pretty clear to me he didn’t get the concept of being part of a team versus just being on a team. Had he chosen to make those players an integral part of the team from the beginning perhaps, just perhaps, things would have gone differently.
With In this issue of the magazine you will read about the efforts – past and present – that the Coast Guard has made and continues to make to ensure Reserve personnel are not just on the team but a valued and contributing part of the team. Because in the end, all most folks want is what those Little Leaguers wanted: a chance to step up to the plate and make a solid contribution whenever and wherever they can. Leaders are responsible for ensuring they are ready.
From the Editor - The great American philosopher and not half bad professional baseball player Yogi Berra once observed, “You’ve got to be very careful about where you are going, because you might not get there.” We agree.
We wrap up our year-long coverage of the Coast Guard Reserve’s 75th Anniversary with a peek into the future as seen through the eyes of the component’s senior leaders: Rear Admirals Kurt Hinrichs, Francis “Stash” Pelkowski, Scott McKinley and Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief Eric Johnson. Their collective vision identifies both the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead as the Coast Guard and its Reserve force adapt to the ever-changing world of resources and threats.
Beginning with our interview with Adm. Paul Zukunft in Issue 1, 2016, we have attempted to highlight the importance and relevance of the men and women who constitute the Coast Guard Reserve: both today and since its formation during the dark days of the Second World War. Stealing shamelessly from our anniversary theme, we owe a special “Thank You” to reservist CWO Anastasia Devlin who has so eloquently captured the story of the Reserve since its inception on February 19, 1941, through present day and with an eye to the future.
Speaking of the future, Public Affairs Specialist Chief Petty Officer Susan Blake’s feature article about Sector Mobile’s implementation of the Boat Forces Reserve Management Plan highlights how many units are moving themselves and the service forward. And, Public Affairs Specialist Second Class Emaia Rise takes a look at Sector Field Office Atlantic City’s initiative to improve the training and readiness of reservists assigned to engineering support billets.
Looking ahead to 2017, we will strive to keep Yogi’s words front and center as we continue to seek out and publish articles which give our readers both a sense of where we are today and where we are headed in the future.