Reservist

ISS1 2015

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Reserve Training Center at Georgia Tech. That part of my Reserve duty including a couple of summer camps (two weeks annual training) was mostly spent doing classroom type work. Later on they started flying the units to Charleston, S.C. There we trained and learned on ships and the experience was much more meaningful. Shortly after that my dad became very ill and I was able to transfer to the Stand-by Reserve and finish up my time there. What were your primary duties while in the Reserve? During my time in the Ready Reserve I was in the communications area. I remember doing a lot of work on the prisoner of war issue based on the studies done on Korea and American POWs. Because I had already been to college and law school I was given the responsibility of instructing and educating reservists on the challenges of being a prisoner of war. Did any of your Coast Guard experience shape or help you during your many years of public service? It helped me immensely when I was first elected to the Senate and I was on the Armed Forces Committee. Senator (John) Stennis was chairman and he created a new Manpower Subcommittee and asked me to be chairman. One of my first sets of hearings was on the honor code. It was focused on all the military academies. West Point had had a real problem. We compared all the honor codes, Air Force, Navy, so forth, over the course of seven or eight hearings and wrote a report. The fact that I had been an enlisted man in the Coast Guard helped me understand a lot more about commitment, about discipline, about being trustworthy, about all those ingredients being important not because we were Boy Scouts, but because that is what promoted trust and cohesion particularly unit cohesion. I had learned a great deal about this during my enlisted time. And, so during those particular set of hearings my Coast Guard experience gave me an insight into what the young people at the academies were going through. The entire time I was chairman of the subcommittee the fact that I had served in the Coast Guard as an enlisted man served me well. I understood a lot more about the mentality and the system of how you had to get along with people. That meant a great deal to me and it is something that really stuck with me my whole career. I also learned that when you go out to visit a military base don't just hang out with the generals and admirals. Go meet with the petty officers and sergeants so you can get down to where the rubber truly meets the road. That made a big difference. As co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) what role do you see for the U.S. Armed Forces in general, and specifically the Reserve Components, in addressing global threats including potential pandemics like the Ebola virus? Well, the Ebola virus is really a threat here at home because it can be in the Atlanta airport without us knowing it or Washington- Dulles (airport) or anywhere else very quickly. So, I think the President made the right move. I think the outbreak has gotten in front of the response. I think we are behind the curve now and the trajectories are pretty frightening. So the military was called in, I think, because they have the logistic capability, the medical personnel, the ability to delivery supplies gloves and masks and all the things that these poorer countries really don't have. I hope we can get on top of it. We, NTI, are not directly involved but where we are involved we have created networks around the world of countries working together. We help them develop the ability to communicate and have an exchange of information on any outbreak whether it's measles brought on by Mother Nature or a terrorist attack with bio-weapons. Sometimes it is not distinguishable as to which for weeks, months even years so you need to be prepared for both. So we think that countries, in region, working together is enormously important. We developed a regional network in the Middle East of all places with the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Israel. Those health officials, even in tough times, are having a free flow of information every day. We are trying to get that type of timely communications set up around the world. It is much more easily done and already being done in the industrialized countries. Poorer, less developed countries have a lot of capacity problems so that is where I see the military being involved. My guess is that we have a lot of our medically trained and skilled technicians as well as doctors and nurses, in the Reserve. Though I haven't studied this, my guess is the Reserve forces are going to play a big role in this either by back filling when the active duty is called to go to West Africa or directly involved themselves. Senator, last question. If you could offer one piece of advice to a young person who might be considering entering the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve what might you recommend based on your experience? Do it! We don't have a draft any more but I think it is terrific experience. You will learn a lot about getting along with people. Of course you will learn about the skills you need to serve in the Coast Guard or the Navy. In the case of the Coast Guard, there are so many peacetime duties. The Coast Guard is out there, around- the-clock, 365 days of the year in a maritime capacity for the safety and security of the environment and mariners as well as border and drug enforcement. So, I think it is a tremendous opportunity and a tremendous career. I can't think of a better way to be trained than being in the Coast Guard whether you are enlisted or an officer. Senator, again thank you for being so willing to answer our questions and share your thoughts with our readers. And finally, thank you for your outstanding service to our nation, both in and out of uniform, and congratulations on being recognized as one of U.S. Navy Memorial's 2014 Lone Sailor Award winners. � Te Honorable sam nunn receives the 2014 lone sailor award from U.s. navy Memorial executive director John totushek and Coast guard deputy Commandant for operations vice adm. Charles Michel. Photo by Jeffrey Malet, U.S. navy Memorial

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