Reservist

ISS4 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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22 RESERVIST � Issue 4 • 2018 Brittny Thompson ME3, Port Security Unit 311, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Brittny Thompson has come a long way. PSU 311's jack-of-all- trades petty officer was recently featured in the Buzzfeed article "10 Pieces of Advice from Badass Women of the Coast Guard." In her quote, she said, "…never give up… always put forth the effort to make it to the next level. We are stronger than we think, and we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. Always use positive influences to fuel your passion to become a better person, and always surround yourself with like-minded people who want to be successful." Thompson's words came from a storied past. A decade ago, she wasn't on the best side of the law. In fact, while in high school, Thompson found herself hanging out with the wrong crowd and doing things she wasn't proud of. She laughed, thinking back to her rowdy days. "When I was sitting in the back of a police car, I'm looking at the police officer in front, thinking, 'I want to be doing his job.'" She remembered one officer, an older man who shook his head and told her she'd never be able to get a good job continuing as she was. Thompson was determined to prove him wrong. After high school, she enrolled in college, and chose criminal justice as her major. She started to realize she had a passion for law enforcement. Two weeks after completing her bachelors in 2011, Thompson enlisted in the Coast Guard, and sought to become a maritime enforcement specialist (ME). She was disappointed to find out that she'd be on the ME A-school list for four years. But she was a hard worker, always seeking additional responsibilities. While working at the damage control (DC) shop at her first active duty unit in Sector Port Angles, Wash., the crew started to recognize Thompson's spirit and initiative. "I think my master chief knew I was bored at the sector, but he allowed me to do a lateral move to the station," said Thompson. "I struck BM [boatswain mate] there; I was one of the last people to make it through the striker program." Thompson left active duty in 2015 and became a federal corrections officer. At night, she worked on her graduate degree, earning a master's in forensics. But as a new member of the Reserve, she said her new unit, PSU 311, was a game changer for her. She went through Basic PSU school, a training course for all new PSU members. "I got really good at the weapons," said Thompson, who's been deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since early spring. Her command recognized Thompson's skills and attention to detail, and they asked her to become a PQS administrator for the unit's weapons program. She's even been to engineering school. She maintains all the unit's law enforcement gear, though she added, "I didn't realize how much work goes into it, especially engagement to our team," said Boyd. "Like when she received her FOSCR [federal on scene coordinator representative] qualification, that's tough for a reservist; you have to spend lots of time outside the weekend studying and come in occasionally during the week to earn that qualification." Four years and two daughters later, Sprout is headed in a different direction. In her quote for the Buzzfeed article, she said, "You are truly in control of your future." Now she's helping other young people with their futures—much younger people. "I finish my masters in counseling in May," she said, noting that she'll be focused on elementary school counseling. She interns two days a week at her local elementary school, and the other three, she spends time with her daughters and teaches kids' yoga on the beach. Boyd summed up Sprout's level of dedication, both to the Coast Guard and as a civilian. "She goes above and beyond to be the expert in her field." �

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