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Coast Guard Courtesy Item Reservist Review

I canβ€˜I am not saying how humbled and honored I am to have been selected as the eighth Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve. The Master Chief Williamson left some big shoes to fill, but Iβ€˜I can not wait to be there.

Let me tell you a bit about my background.

Around 1984, I began my military career with nine years of active duty in the Army as a ground combat systems support. Eventually I was transferred to the Army Reserve in Oregon. During my training to become a drill instructor, I met a member of Port Security Unit 313. His job seemed a lot more fun than mine, so in 1998 I joined this great service.

My original Coast Guard rating was Port Security Officer, but with the 2010 ratings amalgamation, I became a Marine Law Enforcement Specialist. Iβ€˜I served many units on the West Coast, including two Port Security Units (PSU).

On the civilian side, Iβ€˜I’ve been in law enforcement for over two decades. I retired in March 2022 from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon as a patrol sergeant, but Iβ€˜I also worked in the SWAT team (Special Weapons and Tactics) and the diving team.

Now, upon arriving at this position, I immediately recognized two things: the world is changing rapidly and the demand for Coast Guard support has never been greater. The reserve component allows for a lot of that, especially with contingencies.

As you know, over the past few years, reservists have been called upon for many short-term demands, not only for primary missions, but also for many non-traditional missions, such as the Southwest Frontier, the Operation Allies Welcome and the COVID -19 vaccination clinics. In each case, we answered the call; more often weβ€˜went beyond expectations to the point that itβ€˜It’s hard for the commandments to want to let us go. Thisβ€˜s the caliber of our people.

As reservists, we are a force of β€œmakers ; when the nation calls, we answer without hesitation to get the job done. Iβ€˜I have met so many of you who love to serve, and it shows in the quality of your work.

We have all been sworn to serve, and sometimes that oath requires us to work long hours, or at night, or in dangerous conditions to succeed in the mission. In return, your leaders support you and remove any obstacles that prevent you from performing at your highest level. As leaders, thisβ€˜is our most important job.

I recently heard that summed up perfectly. I was on the phone with CG Fix-it to set up my phone at head office, and the technology was great. When I thanked him for helping me, he said: β€œNo youβ€˜You’re welcome. Thisβ€˜It’s my job to help you do your job.

Leadership is about serving others, about removing the blocks that prevent people from becoming proficient in their chosen profession. Thisβ€˜It’s our job to help you keep doing what you do best.

So, to the reserve strength, thatβ€˜that’s my promise. I will strive every day for the next four years to work for you and to fulfill this commitment. Fortunately, Iβ€˜I am part of a great team, alongside Admiral Fagan and new MCPOCG Heath Jones, along with experienced leaders from the Coast Guard Reserve.

I need your help, however. Over the next four years, we need to change our mindset in favor of innovation. Traditional methods of training, leadership and engagement will be challenged, but Reservists have always used their civilian employment background and active duty experience to adapt.

Our Coast Guard is changing rapidly to keep pace with this world, and β€œthisβ€˜it’s the way weβ€˜I always did” will no longer be an acceptable approach. It will take this unconventional style of leadership at service levels.

Iβ€˜I’m ready to get to work, and I know you are too.

Semper Paratus.

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