Reservist

ISS1 2019

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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led; that's what enables us to be so effective at our missions. I really believe the Coast Guard is the best at maintaining relationships at every level, from local government all the way up to federal government." Dickey agreed with Thomas. "Learn your partners' world of work, speak their language, understand their programs and authorities," she said. "That makes you better equipped to prioritize." Our federal partners recognize our capabilities as well. "Y'all have a great force multiplier to support response efforts," said Christine Hanson, emergency services branch director for FEMA Region VI, which includes Texas and the four surrounding states. "We have to manage risk and help downrange teams be successful. Everyone has that shared goal." Outside of the workshop, and over the past two years, the Coast Guard has sent EPLOs to support response efforts to multiple catastrophic incidents around the world, spanning the U.S east coast, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and the far reaches of the Pacific, including Guam and Saipan. These include tropical storms Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence, Michael and Yutu. Cmdr. Eric Martenson, the Coast Guard EPLO to FEMA Region I (northern New England), deployed to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria made landfall as a category 5 storm in 2017. He said his main responsibilities included serving as a communications bridge between overall response effort and the Coast Guard, engaging with dignitaries and tracking Coast Guard mission assignments. Meanwhile, Lt. Cmdr. Mike Jarbeau, during his deployment to Maria, was redirected nearly on arrival in theater for a deployment aboard the USS Kearsarge, which was acting as the command and control vessel for the entire Puerto Rico DSCA response effort. As the solitary Coast Guardsman, he filled a critical role onboard for a couple weeks, shepherding vital information between DOD, Coast Guard, and other federal agencies, bringing efficiency, clarity and effectiveness to the entire response operation. You never quite know what you're walking into as an EPLO—adaptability and flexibility are key to success. The pace of tropical systems appears unrelenting with deployments already happening this calendar year. In the past nine months, the D14 EPLO team has deployed to Hawaii, Guam and Saipan, most notably for Super Typhoon Yutu, which was the strongest storm globally of 2018. Shortly after arrival in the Northern Mariana Islands, Lt. Cmdr Rob Le Monde helped stand up the Air Operations Branch, while Cmdr. Jen Conklin led the coordination effort on Guam; both were critical in establishing the air and sea bridge on an exceptionally isolated island chain. Consisting largely of Air Station Barber's Point C-130 aircraft and the Coast Guard Cutters Sequoia and Washington, the initial post-disaster aid and logistical support was brought by the Coast Guard. The arc of Coast Guard responsiveness is long and continuous. Moving forward, our EPLO program will be a key component in the launching of a joint DOD/CG EPLO course specifically aimed at leveraging past experience to bolster interagency effectiveness. Conversation between the EPLO program, liaison officers and agency representatives continues. While the position specific training is very important, these positions also benefit from lessons learned we all bring as members of the U.S. Coast Guard. While an EPLO may find themselves as the sole touchpoint for the Coast Guard in a sea of multi-agency responders immediately following a disaster, they know they are certainly not alone. They have a long support network and an exceptional ability to work together, both within the Coast Guard network and with fellow responders, to take scant information and resources in a time of crisis to save lives and serve those most in need. This ability has been shaped by experiences we all share – showing up and doing the hard work when others may hesitate; we believe in, and practice, honor, respect and devotion to duty. The Coast Guard's contingent of EPLOs at the Defense Support of Civil Authorities conference, in Grapevine, Texas. Two dozen reserve EPLOs and emergency management-oriented personnel represented the Coast Guard at the workshop exchanging ideas on contingency and response operations, cultivating relationships with DOD and FEMA regional partners, and increasing awareness of the unique authorities and capabilities of our service. Issue 1 • 2019 � RESERVIST 23

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