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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MCpoCg visits defense information school, attends graduation story by pa1 Renee C. Coleman The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, the senior enlisted person in the service, made history by visiting the Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort Meade, Md., on November 19. The purpose of Master Chief Petty Officer Steven Cantrell's visit was twofold: to tour DINFOS and to celebrate the graduation of the Basic Public Affairs Specialist Course (BPASC) Class 070- 14. BPASC, which comprised soldiers, Marines, one sailor and three Coast Guardsmen, graduated in a ceremony attended by student detachment leaders, instructors, friends and families of the service members. Public Affairs petty officers from as far away as St. Petersburg, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J., traveled to meet Cantrell and to see the graduation ceremony. Before the ceremony, Cantrell toured DINFOS with Jimmie Bell, the director of staff at the school. Bell, who served as a journalist in the Navy and retired as a master chief petty officer, said this was the first time a Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard visited the hallways of DINFOS. "It made me feel great to see the MCPOCG visit DINFOS within six months after assuming his position at Coast Guard headquarters," Bell said. "DINFOS is a small organization with a small cadre of Coast Guard students, but he took the time to visit the school, visit with staff and students, and attend a graduation." When a distinguished visitor such as Cantrell requests a tour of DINFOS, Bell tailors the tour to his or her needs, he said. The goal of Cantrell's visit was for him to observe and better understand the joint service environment and how service members are trained at DINFOS. Cantrell started his tour at the DINFOS Hall of Heroes, a solemn reminder of the men and women who lost their lives telling the stories of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Cantrell said he appreciated seeing the memorial. "We must never forget that service members in all fields -- not just operators, but also support, supply and administrative personnel -- have given their lives in service to our nation," he said. During the tour, Bell highlighted the variety of departments, instructors and classrooms at DINFOS so Cantrell could see the full scope of what the school has to offer, not just to Coast Guardsmen, but to all members of the Armed Forces. The joint service environment provides a unique learning environment for students and instructors alike. "Any opportunity to participate in joint-service operations or training is beneficial to a service member," Cantrell said. "It promotes resiliency and flexibility, while broadening horizons." "It was truly inspiring to see service members wearing five different uniforms -- that of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard -- united in the execution of the same mission," he said. Cantrell also met with the Coast Guardsmen for lunch and a question-and-answer session. Included in the group were the three graduating Coast Guard students from BPASC 070-14: Petty Officer 3rd Class David Micallef and Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross, both on active duty, and reservist Seaman Chiara Sinclair. Over 56 training days, BPASC students are trained in journalism, photojournalism and public affairs. Upon graduation, they are sent to the field and fleet and expected to perform as fully trained information and communication warriors. For Coast Guard members, the time commitment is even greater. On average, Coast Guard enlisted personnel wait three years to attend DINFOS. During the wait, Coast Guardsmen are sent to the fleet as "nonrates," with the expectation of completing a variety of jobs, whether underway on a Coast Guard cutter or ashore with a land-based unit. For nonrated Coast Guard personnel still waiting to attend any training, Cantrell offered advice and encouragement. "I would recommend that people really look at their priorities before choosing a career field or deciding whether or not to wait an extensive period of time," Cantrell said. "If we're talking about your ideal career field, any wait is worth it." Becoming proficient in essential skills, taking on increasingly difficult duties and acquiring advanced qualifications, finishing college degrees and completing advancement requirements all lodging: paC polish: Our class was split between Harrison Hall and Mace Hall. As the last one added to the class, I was fortunate enough to have my own room in Mace Hall, but most of us were doubled up in rooms that had separate bedrooms. Rooms were very clean, complete with a storage closet, landline phone and TV with cable, enabling me to watch my beloved San Francisco Giants after PT or between classes. It is important to note that there was a $20 charge for the room per night, which needs to be reflected on one's orders for reimbursement. paC Masson: Reservists who usually travel for their ADT will be familiar with the lodging arrangements. Students can pay for their rooms with their government travel cards, then file a travel claim for reimbursement. The only real difference is that I've yet to encounter a hotel room on ADT that only cost me $20 per night. Classroom and teams: paC polish: I'm not positive, but my mouth must have dropped when I entered our classroom. Each table was immaculately arranged for each team and student. Individually labeled signs and personalized CPOA Reserve Class 36 mugs were placed in front of each seat, indicating which student would make that spot their classroom home for the next two weeks. Teams were seated together in a U-shape around one of three long tables. After taking a 26 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2015

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