Reservist

ISS1 2015

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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Training and Augmentation Experience Key Ingredients to Station Alexandria Bay Reserve Boat Crew's Rescue Coast Guard Reserve personnel have been working side-by-side with their active duty counterparts since 1941. Every weekend throughout the year somewhere in this country, there is a Coast Guard station being "taken over" by Reserve forces. The reservists work closely with the active duty personnel to obtain and maintain their proficiency and readiness through a combination of training and augmentation of day-to-day missions. July 12, 2014, was no different. Machinery Technician Senior Chief Ed Donovan rolled up to Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay, in Wellesley Island, N.Y., with plans for a full day. "We were expecting a long day and night because a festival was taking place and fireworks were planned for the evening festivities, which meant a security zone," said Donovan. Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay's mission is typical of most small boat stations scattered throughout the Great Lakes, search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, homeland security, ice rescue, recreational boating safety, drug and alien migrant interdiction, military readiness and environmental response. Its area of responsibility includes Cape Vincent up to St. Lawrence River to Massena, NY, to the International Border. As the sun was beginning to set, the Senior Chief and his crew, Boatswains Mate 3rd Class Nicholas Dorfer, Boatswains Mate 3rd Class Aaron Bouchard, and Machinery Technician 3rd Class James Daley, finished up with some man overboard training and area familiarization and were headed to the St. Lawrence River to set up a security zone for the fireworks. "As we approached the break wall, we observed a small boat exiting the harbor and entering the river," Donovan explained. "Next thing we know, the smaller boat hit the wake of a larger vessel and the boat overturned. The only thing visible was the white bottom of the boat." Dorfer, the coxswain, quickly maneuvered the 25-foot response boat to the scene. "We got on scene instantly and observed five people in the water," said Donovan. "Two of the individuals appeared to be struggling to stay on top of the water and no one was wearing their lifejacket properly. "Petty Officer Bouchard and I pulled a young female from the water first," Donovan continued. "She was saying she couldn't swim and appeared to be in distress. The second woman we pulled from the water was also in distress as she had attempted to put on a lifejacket, but became tangled in it and her arms were twisted toward her back." While Bouchard and Donovan were pulling the second woman into the boat, Daley was at the stern of the boat using a boathook to retrieve a man in the water. "The guy grabbed the boathook and started pulling himself toward the back of the boat," said Daley. "I told him to stop pulling and quickly pushed him away due to the proximity of the engines, as well as all the debris in the water." Bouchard and Donovan were able to safely pull the other three people out of the water to the safety of the Coast Guard vessel. A Good Samaritan towed the boat back to Cape Vincent Public Boat Launch. Training, dedication, and hard work saved the lives of five people on this day. "We utilized the training we have practiced during numerous man overboard drills to rescue the five people from the water in a quick, safe and timely manner," Donovan stated. "It doesn't get any better than that!" — Story by PA1 Brian Huth, 9th District Public Affairs Reserve Boat crew from Station Alexandria Bay that rescued 5 people from the water. Pictured from left to right are BM3 Aaron Bouchard, BM3 nicholas Dorfer and MK3 James Daley. MKCS edward Donovan not present. At the beginning of this year, the Coast Guard initiated a new Boat Forces Reserve Management Project in an effort to increase opportunities for reservists to contribute to both contingency and daily boat operations. This new plan extends the certification cycle from six to 12 months. That along with other changes, grant Reserve personnel more flexibility for operational readiness. While many factors are involved in mission execution, this law enforcement case in July happened under the new Boat Forces paradigm. "The changes have been helpful because we have more time now," said Arburua. "I feel hopeful that we can all stick together and keep each other qualified with the new plan." Chief Petty Officer Martin Radcliff, the Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor at Station LA/LB explained the value gained from increasing operational readiness. "You get results like this [patrol]," said Radcliff. "You get a very cohesive team that is qualified in their positions and are ready to be put to work." Since this patrol and the other Reserve patrols that followed, the relationship between the reservists and active duty personnel at the station has changed, explained Magana. "We're valued as an asset even more so now. We needed the chance to show what we could do." "Now that everybody is qualified, we can relieve some of the stress of the active duty," said Arburua. "They started requesting us for events and missions that they would normally do themselves." "This crew is another example of the professionalism and skill which Boat Forces Reserve personnel bring to a station," commented Capt. Todd Wiemers, Chief, Office of Boat Forces (CG- 731). "We believe the Boat Forces Reserve Management Plan will fundamentally transform the operational readiness of the Reserve Force by increasing opportunities for reservists to contribute." With their heightened opportunities for readiness, Magana and Arburua hope to prevent more safety violations like they did on July 27. "The children on that last boat that we boarded didn't have the proper life vests," said Arburua. "Safety hazards like that get people killed. A lot of people underestimate the water and how dangerous it can be out there. We want to be sure everyone is boating safely." The Reserve Boat Force at Station LA/LB stands by ready, qualified, and dedicated to help make that happen. — Story by PA2 Gina Ruoti, 11th District Public Affairs Issue 1 • 2015 � RESERVIST 9

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