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 36 of 67

Off-duty challenges at the highest point on earth Last fall, Chief Petty Officer Sherri Eng, a member of the Coast Guard District 11 Public Affairs Office in Alameda, Calif., visited Everest Base Camp of Mt. Everest. After taking a trip to trek up Machu Picchu, she was hooked on the idea of adventure vacations. "This was a bucket list item," said Eng, who works as the director of public affairs for the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. "I was fascinated by Everest since I saw an IMAX movie about it." Following a flight into Kathmandu, Nepal, she took another flight to Lukla Airport, nestled between the white mountains. Lukla is known as the most dangerous airport in the world; it features a single, sloped runway that ends in a 2,000-foot dropoff. The trek, which takes around 12 days round trip, goes through areas of very high altitude, up to 17,000 feet, making it more difficult and dangerous. Climbers have to be fit and look after themselves, making sure to climb slowly to account for the oxygen loss. After hiking five to eight hours each day, Eng and her group of 15 would stop at small, rustic teahouses in the villages along the way for a dinner of noodles or soup and a wooden platform bed-no heat, of course, which was tough when the temperature dropped below 20 degrees. The hikers would stop for one night, sometimes two, depending on how long it took to get accustomed to the thinning air. "The idea is that you always sleep lower than the elevation you've hiked to," said the chief. "That gives your body time to acclimate." Once climbers hit EBC, they will have lost almost half the oxygen in the air, making any amount of work tough. If the exhaustion doesn't get to climbers, at these altitudes, the human body can start going through other trauma called acute mountain sickness. Symptoms include numbness, tingling in extremities, nausea and ringing ears. Luckily, Eng was one of three people in her group who didn't experience the physical effects. She said reaching EBC was worth all the work. "It was a tough trip, but worth every minute of it.," said Eng. "The mountains were amazingly beautiful and majestic. The 360-degree view of these mountain peaks-the highest mountains in the world-it was just so breathtakingly beautiful." Eng, a seasoned PA who deployed for the 2017 hurricane season, loves a challenge. Her next? "I'm doing a full iron man triathlon in Ireland next month!" said Eng. � played an instrumental role in helping the J-4 Logistics staff identify, source, and meet sustainment requirements. Lt. Cmdr. Edmund Parvin (from Sector Hampton Roads) and I served on the front lines in the Joint Operations Center, sharing critical information between HSTF-SE, SOUTHCOM, and JTF-MIGOPS. They ensured inbound ships of rescued migrants would be met at the pier by medical and security forces to effectively address any concerns, including vulnerable or ill migrants. If you have had your eye on the news lately, then you know that we live in a drastically different communication environment from the mass migration events in the 1980s and 1990s. Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Magee (the active duty PA from District 8) became a part of the Joint Information Center to help craft messages that conveyed accurate information, deterred additional migration, countered false rumors and misinformation campaigns, and prepared joint leaders for stand-up media interviews. While reservists might not be the first on-scene when the ships, rafts, and boats overloaded with migrants head to sea at the start of the next migration, we will play an instrumental role in responding to a crisis. The education, joint experience, and relationships forged during Integrated Advance 2019 will ensure the Coast Guard is Semper Paratus to lead interagency efforts to save lives and protect national security. No joke. � — Story and photo by Lt. Cmdr. David Connor Issue 1 • 2019 � RESERVIST 35

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