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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Buckles remembered one Exxon employee saying, "I thought the Coast Guard was small!" Buckles told him, "Almost all of us here are reservists." In fact, 65% of the Coast Guard's responders in the Alaskan disaster came from the Reserve. Then-Commandant Adm. Paul Yost, in his 1989 remarks to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said, "Mr. Chairman, the Exxon Valdez spill and the three recent spills in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Texas, have served as startling reminders of the need to be ready and to have adequate resources to respond to such events." The Coast Guard was learning how much it leaned on its reservists for surge staffing in disaster operations. Floods, hurricanes, oil spills, migrant operations -- contingency after contingency, a request or recall for reservists was becoming standard. In 1991, Title 14 was amended and all values were, in essence, doubled. The original 14 days (in four months) was changed to 30, 30 days was changed to 60, the period of one year was changed to two years, and the authority to recall was delegated to the Secretary. (The original authority required Presidential approval.) The change seemed to come just in time. A year later, Category 5 Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida, killing 26 people, leveling 25,000 houses and leaving $25 billion in damage. Master Chief Potenciano "Paul" Ladut (ret.), a seasoned Coast Guardsman and HVAC expert, was one of the reservists recalled. He spent the month of November rebuilding Coast Guard housing in Homestead, Fla. While it was a far cry from the boat crew work he was used to as a Reserve senior chief, Ladut was a Coast Guard civilian who worked on the boilers of four federal buildings in New Orleans. "As an MK (machinery technician), you do a little bit of everything," said Ladut. "We did whatever we had to do to get the housing back to standard." Though the relationship between active duty and reservists became closer and smoother, the Reserve force was being downsized. In 1998, Reserve strength was over 12,500, but only three years later, it was reduced by more than a third to 7,500. According to the book Rogue Wave, the days before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, almost 1,000 reservists (13% of the Reserve) were already on active duty in various jobs. 24 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2016

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