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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members of the Reserve workforce two generations ago. Today's missions have changed. Yes, the Reserve still has personnel attached to Port Security Units (PSU) ready to go into harms way overseas. But another major mission of the Reserve is domestic contingency response. "If the active duty is called up to respond to an emergency, then our job as reservists is to backfill them here, and that is why we train on our weekend drills with them side by side so we can have a good working knowledge of what their job is in the event they are deployed," said MKC Jeff Schechtweg, a reservist of 15 years from South Windsor, Conn. "If they [the active duty] go, then we are ready to step in," Schechtweg said, who in civilian life is a high school teacher in Hartford, Conn. The active side is organized in Boston and elsewhere around the Coast Guard into Maintenance Augmentation Teams (MAT), a concept developed by many in the engineering community at headquarters and in the field. R-MATs were created to assist active duty MATs. "The R-MAT is designed to provide meaningful rate specific training and qualification opportunities to Reserve MKs, EMs and DCs at all levels," explained active duty member Lt.j.g. Jessica Snyder from her office in Norfolk, Va. "The primary focus of the R-MAT construct is to ensure that proper training is available to reservists. In addition, there will always be weekend maintenance for the vessels located at the base." Snyder works closely with Capt. Jennifer Grezelak-Ledoux in the Director of Operational Logistics Branch (DOL-1.) Both explained the active MAT and R-MAT teams have been developed to further readiness, performance, and support of cutter based operations. This means a great deal of effort by the R-MAT goes into providing maintenance for 23-foot Over the Horizon Cutter Boats (CB-OTH) attached to 270-foot WMECs, which operate out of 1st District ports such as Boston and Kittery, Maine. "Reserve MKs, EMs and DCs are regularly relied upon to complete scheduled Maintenance Procedure Cards (MPCs) for CB-OTHs, allowing active duty technicians more time to focus on challenging corrective maintenance," Snyder said. "With the new MPCs I am able to just print them off and give them to the R-MAT," said MK1 Sheldon J. Bond, an active duty member of the Boston MAT. "We really appreciate the [R-MAT.]" The month of May might be safe boating month in the Coast Guard's 1st District, but safe boating takes on a whole new meaning when CB-OTHs are concerned, according to Bond. A 23-foot marvel of engineering, CB-OTHs are equipped with a powerful diesel engine mounted to an I/O stern drive. "It's the pursuit intercept boat," said Bond. 270 crews use the boat for migrant interdiction, anti-narcotics, and fisheries boardings. It's the 270's main platform they use to launch for fast response. And now, instead of a cutter owning the OTH maintenance, we have removed that, and when they get underway they are given an OTH that is fully mission capable and ready to go." The Boston MAT and R-MAT black gang shares a bond with the engineers DeVellis served with aboard the LST, explained MKC Kevin M. Kennedy, who has been a reservist for 24 years and deployed to Bayonne, N.J., during the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, Terrorist attacks. "It gives you a great sense of pride to know you are making equipment run right when it has to," Kennedy said. "You may not see us all the time, but when we put our names on those MPC cards, we own it." Kennedy explained it doesn't matter whether deck forces are shooting down enemy planes in WWII, or sneaking up on drug runners through heavy surf somewhere in the Caribbean in the Petty offcer 2nd Class dan J. Cutler, a machinery technician from West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, performs maintenance on a diesel engine aboard Coast guard Cutter OcracOke. Issue 2 • 2016 � RESERVIST 33

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