Reservist

ISS2 2016

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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in recognition of the coast guard reserve's 75th anniversary, the story below is the second in a series linking the origins of the reserve to the missions of today. in this issue we Put the sPotlight on contingency resPonse. In the early 1970s, Coast Guard reservists were coming back from the Vietnam War, but they were reporting to units that weren't prepared to keep them trained and ready for the next operation. Reservists maintained their own command structure. Training was insufficient, inconsistent and disorganized. Without orders for operations, reservists had very little interaction with the active duty. Master Chief Forrest Croom (ret.) became a Coast Guard reservist in 1967. When he reported to the Armed Forces Reserve Training Center (AFRTC) in Chicago, he was disappointed and frustrated by the lack of purpose. "When I first joined, the reserves were basically reserves in name only," said Croom. "They were separated into different units, they were trained at different facilities or AFRTCs. Training itself was terrible. [The reservists] weren't accomplishing anything that would better themselves." He worried that when the reservists were called up again they wouldn't have the training for what they'd be expected to do. Cmdr. Maureen Whitehurst, a 19-year veteran who retired in 1994, agreed, saying that when she enlisted her command didn't seem to know what to do with her, and she spent a lot of her time (as a yeoman) typing and filing. "I was at an ORTUPS (Organized Reserve Training Unit Port Security), and I know now that I was training myself. I occupied myself with practical factors and whatever I thought would earn a paycheck." As if they were being held on retainer for the next war, the reservists waited with no formalized upkeep. The regular Reserve wasn't functioning in a reliable, standardized way, and the Coast Guard considered abandoning the program entirely. Master Chief Croom remembered two examples from his unit in Chicago. In the first, he knew a first class boatswain mate in the Coast Guard Reserve who was also a lieutenant in the Chicago Harbor Patrol. He was untrained by the Coast Guard, but he turned out to be a huge resource to the active duty because of his police training. In the second example, a first class machinist mate was able to repair boats for the Coast Guard, not because of his training, but because he was a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The Reserve was talented. Croom knew that many of the reservists had stories like these but were being overlooked by the active duty because of a perceived lack of training. In 1972, the restrictions on the use of the Reserve changed. Title 14 of the United States Code authorized involuntary active duty for Coast Guard reservists for emergency augmentation of regular forces for natural or man-made disasters. The original authorization was for "...not more than 14 days in any four- month period and not more than thirty days in any one-year period..." The involuntary recall was first used in 1973, to assist with flood operations in the Midwest. Coast Guard reservists were called up to help evacuate people from their homes. Cmdr. Joseph Cosgrove (ret.) was a reservist out of a small Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in St. Paul, Minn. He happened to be doing his two weeks of active duty during the 1978 Red River Flood in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He was sent to the Coast guard Historian 22 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2016

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