ISS3 2018

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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Bill Pearson, jet pilot assistant chief pilot, Chubb Insurance Aviation MK1, Station Manasquan Inlet, N.J. Like a lot of other kids who grew up on the coast, Bill Pearson remembered seeing Coast Guard helicopters flying over his house where he grew up in New Jersey. He knew even back then that he was going to fly one day. Flight training was expensive though, and, without a lot of money, Pearson's next option was the military. In 1991, Coast Guard recruiters landed him a job in aviation as an electrician (AE), but advancement was slow. When he took a "The lifesaving mission seemed more important than anything else," he said. While in OCS, Demisie's plans shifted again, dramatically, and he gave up his seat at flight school. "Flying would have been awesome—specifically flying helicopters would have been awesome—but I decided that I wanted to give something else a try. I opted to go the prevention route," he said. "It looked interesting, and it was something I'd never done. It was the best choice I could have made." He spent a three-year tour at Coast Guard Sector New York working in vessel inspections, but eventually, he switched to the Reserve so he could return to his career as a pilot. Today, Demisie serves as a reserve watchstander at the National Command Center at Coast Guard Headquarters. His duties are indistinguishable from the active duty watchstanders, and he coordinates his 12-hour duty shifts with his airline schedule as a pilot. The commute to work is just part of the routine, and after making flights into Newark from Houston on drill weekends, Demisie has grown accustomed to the extra step. These days it's just an extra flight from South Carolina to D.C. once a month to fulfill his obligation as a reservist. "It's a little tough balancing both careers," said Demisie, "but I wouldn't do it any other way." Demisie continues to seek challenges. Since joining the Coast Guard, he's finished two masters degrees, become a speaker for the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, and earned his rating as a flight instructor. He now flies a 737NG for American Airlines, the same kind of aircraft he sat in more than 30 years ago as a child. "I love the being exposed to new ideas and concepts; that's the only way you can grow as a person," said Demisie. "The variety of experiences makes you a much more valuable asset to the Coast Guard." � 20 RESERVIST � Issue 3 • 2018

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