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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flood zone to manage a team of Coast Guard active duty who specialized in aids-to-navigation maintenance, boating safety and marine safety. Cosgrove said in the late seventies, the active duty and the reservists began working together more regularly, though he said, "there wasn't a lot of training. There were certain all-hands trainings, but a lot of it was OJT (on-the-job training)." The next recall didn't occur until the Mariel Boat Lift, when Fidel Castro opened the Cuban border to let 125,000 people depart Mariel Harbor for the U.S. According to the book Castro's Ploy – America's Dilemma: The 1980 Cuban Boatlift, Coast Guard reservists provided backup crews at small boat stations, while active duty boat crews were sent to the Florida Keys to assist in the migrant crisis. Reserve boat crews also reported to Group Key West, Fla., to aid in search and rescue efforts, as well as stopping southbound boats. More than 900 reservists would be called up in a six-week period in the summer of 1980. The Reserve and active relationship began to take shape as reservists realized they had a place, and operations to train for. Croom, who would go on to become the first Master Chief of the Coast Guard Reserve Force in 1991, said training became better and better as the reservists began working more often alongside the active duty. This concept of shadow training increased the active duty's respect for the reservists, and Croom said this gave the reservists themselves a sense of pride they hadn't truly had before. In 1989, Lt. Cmdr. Susan Shanahan (ret.) was a brand new Coast Guard petty officer in her late teens when the tanker Exxon Valdez spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into Alaskan waters. Shanahan, who'd never left her home state of Texas, volunteered immediately to spend her summers in between college classes in Anchorage, Alaska, but said no training could have prepared her for her experiences. "I monitored crews of native Alaskans with a clipboard of paperwork, I measured oil being cleaned off the rocks, I flew around on Army helicopters," said Shanahan, who left the Coast Guard in 2014. "It was that experience that made me want to go active duty. My second summer after Exxon Valdez, I decided to integrate." Capt. Rob Buckles (ret.), a marine safety expert in the Coast Guard and in his civilian job, served as operations officer for the Exxon Valdez response, and he said a lot of the reservists who were recalled provided necessary administrative support. This freed active duty personnel, who were more experienced in spill response, to attend to specialized tasking. "Valdez was such a tiny place, and it's 300 miles by car [from Anchorage]," said Buckles, who retired in 2001. "They had several hundred people come on active duty, and they just weren't prepared to handle that. The Reserve Component supplied them with storekeepers and yeomen to handle housing and admin. We had reservists in the field acting as observers, making sure the cleanup was getting done properly." Coast guard Historian Issue 2 • 2016 � RESERVIST 23

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