ISS1 2017

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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Page 15 of 55

Sector h ouston-Galveston Shipmates Gather for h ail and Farewell The August 2016, drill weekend was like no other for Sector Houston-Galveston reservists. Call it luck or coincidence. The unit witnessed an unprecedented amount of occasions to celebrate. To kick the weekend off, four officers were promoted, which provided a unique opportunity to see each pair of shoulder-boards be passed from one to the next. Capt. Ronald Catudal, Cmdr. Orlando (Tom) Munoz, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Starnes and Lt. Leah Whiddon all received commissions to the next highest grade, passing each pair of shoulder boards down to their shipmate. As a surprise, Lt. Whiddon's father presented her with a pair of O-3 collar devices worn by her grandfather, who flew in both World War II and the Korean War. After receiving the family heirloom Whiddon smiled humbly saying, "I just lost watertight integrity." A round of promotions was just the beginning of the honors as the unit said goodbye and farewell to half a dozen officers and a chief petty officer. Each received recognition for their outstanding accomplishments in collectively seeking to increase Reserve participation in the active duty mission. Under Capt. Catudal's leadership, the unit not only increased ICS qualifications and capabilities but also significantly increased operational readiness and operational tempo. Many divisions established formal watch schedules reducing the active component's requirement to perform duty on weekends. These departing leaders helped increase vessel boardings by over 400%. During their tenure, reservists responded to over one hundred National Response Center notifications while tripling Port State Control inspections. The officer corps was not the only ones recognized for these results. The Incident Management Team and the Enforcement Team were recognized for their hard work, planning and execution, including a rigorous two week ADT period. The day's activities ended on a very bittersweet note as the Coast Guard bid farewell to Senior Chief Yeoman Paula O'Donnell who retired after 24 years of service. O'Donnell served as a recruiter where she was the face of Coast Guard for countless young men and women looking for an opportunity to serve. As a yeoman, she provided administrative services to both Sector Houston/Galveston as well as Sector Field Office Galveston. Her skills and work ethic were so intense that Cmdr. Luis Sandoval, Sector Logistics Department Head, admitted that he fought tooth and nail to keep her in his shop. Senior Chief was recalled for many significant events including 9/11 and the MODU DEEPWATER HORIZON explosion. Most recently, O'Donnell led the administrative division during the Texas City Y Oil Spill, a type-1 environmental incident that was being mitigated, managed and resolved exclusively by reservists within 3 days of the release. In conclusion many cakes as well as other treats and round of hugs were enjoyed by all. One by one, the departing members walked across the deck-plate towards the parking lot to continue their life's journey. — Submitted by Lt. Mitchell Otey Photos by Lt. Christie Pointer Capt. Ronald Catudal is being promoted by a fellow shipmate and his son. Lt. Cmdr. Michael Starnes is promoted by two of his children. Cmdr. o rlando 'Tom' Munoz is promoted by his family. Lt. Leah Whiddon is promoted by her father, husband and daughter. The entire Sector Houston-Galveston Law e nforcement Team received a Meritorious Team Award for their hard work during their ADT period. Y n CS Paula o 'Donnell is presented with her retirement certificate in front of friends and family. 14 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2017

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