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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Page 34 of 67

San Diego Fire Department bosses awarded Patriot Award by ESGR On behalf of the California Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, volunteer Joe Boscacci presented Fire Chief Colin Stowell, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Ester and Assistant Fire Chief Chris Webber with Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Awards Jan. 15, 2019. Stowell, Ester and Webber were nominated for the award by Coast Guard Reserve Lt. Kyle Kutzke, a member of Sector San Diego's Incident Management Division. Contributing to the nomination were retired Navy Reserve Chief Petty Officer Derrin Austin, Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Bryan Du Bois, Navy Reserve Master Chief Petty Officer Pete Chase, and Marine Corps Reserve Maj. James Polanco. During an executive meeting, all military members presented the award to the management staff for their continued support of reserve members who actively work for the San Diego Fire Department. "The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees, who like the citizen warriors before them, have answered their nation's call to serve," said Jim Combs, California ESGR state chair. "Supportive supervisors are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation's Guard and Reserve units." "Asst. Chief Webber has been very supportive of the military members on the San Diego Fire Department," said Kutzke. "He has a child that has served in the military and has been gracious in approving firefighters for military leave and upholding state and city law as well as the City's agreement with L145 on this subject. He has gone above and beyond." � ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and values the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit — Submitted by Lt. Alex Elward After leaving the Abraham Lincoln, Hernandez spent the next three and a half years at Naval Air Station Barber Point in Hawaii as a command investigator. He left the Navy to pursue a law enforcement career, joining the Oakland Police Department in 2000. Hernandez had joined the Navy Reserve in 1998, working in Harbor Defense Command, which included Reserve deployments to Korea. After 9/11 happened, Hernandez was on patrol in Oakland when he got the phone call telling him that he was being activated and ordered to Coronado to the Naval Special Warfare Group Logistic Support Unit. As a chief master at arms command investigator, "we were the caretakers for the SEALs' equipment." Hernandez was billeted across the street from where the SEALs Basic Underwater Demolitions School started off "Hell Week" for their new recruits, "with .50-caliber fire and yelling, making me wonder what I was getting myself into." After serving there for a year, he went back to Oakland. He was called up again in 2003 for six months and was sent to Coronado to provide facility security, which included doing threat assessments and upgrading security. At the end of that year, he joined the Coast Guard Reserve as a special agent working internal affairs, which handled violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and supporting Coast Guard operations that ranged from El Paso to Guam dealing with crimes on the high seas, human smuggling, drug smuggling and polluting. Despite being a traditional reservist, his work as a supervisor of 18 other Coast Guard reservists working in the Coast Guard Investigative Service is a daily duty, ranging from a phone call to handling cases. "There is nothing Reserve about it," Hernandez said of the time commitment. The reserve agents support the active-duty civilian agents with work that includes liaising with local law enforcement, Hernandez said. He is still on duty with the rank of chief warrant officer and said "it will be tough when I retire." "It was my dream. I always wanted to be a federal agent," he said. "And the Coast Guard gave me that opportunity. I have enjoyed it." That has included working some high-profile cases dealing with dangerous felons involved with counter-drug operations. Hernandez said his time with the Navy and the Coast Guard gave him the travel he wanted, an education the service paid for and friends made both on the Abraham Lincoln and as an investigator. "It gave me the structure that allows me to be able to work anywhere, as well as the responsibility to lead and supervise," he said. Hernandez said it has been a challenge as a reservist to juggle civilian work with the Solano County District Attorney's Office as an investigator, family and military service, "but I have enjoyed serving as a special agent, especially the camaraderie." Hernandez's advice for anyone interested in joining the military is simple: "Go in with a plan to make the most of your service." � Editor's note: This story originally appeared in the Daily Republic ( Issue 1 • 2019 � RESERVIST 33

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