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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Page 9 of 63

For LA/LB Reserve Boat Crew Training Leads to Mission Success An always ready Coast Guard relies on an always ready Reserve boat force. On July 27, a boarding team from Coast Guard Station Los Angeles/Long Beach (LA/LB) terminated a voyage due to safety violations and detained and transferred three possible illegal migrants to immigration authorities. Coast Guard crews across the nation engage in similar law enforcement missions every day, but what made this patrol unique? All six crewmembers were Coast Guard reservists. Determined to increase their operational opportunities, reservists from Station LA/LB train diligently throughout the year to earn and maintain their boarding team and boat crew certifications. Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Magana, lead boarding officer, explained that since transferring from active duty to the Reserve a year ago, his priority was to get as many reservists qualified as possible. As soon as enough members completed their competency requirements, they wasted no time getting underway. With intentions of enforcing boating safety, the crew set out to board and inspect recreational vessels in Los Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, Calif. Realizing this was the first time in a few years that an all Reserve crew was executing an operational mission rather than performing training drills, Petty Officer 2nd Class Travis Arburua, assistant boarding officer and coxswain, sent a text message to his chief. "Chief, first time in a long time all- Reserve crew! Headed out to conduct boardings," texted Arburua. "I feel good when we go out and educate the public, letting them know that [certain conditions] aren't safe and why," said Arburua. The first two vessels the team inspected that day satisfied all federal maritime laws and safety requirements. However, the mariners on the third boat proved to be less compliant. "What drew my attention to that boat was there were kids on board and their lifejackets were too big," said Magana. "My fear was that if those kids fell into the water they would easily slip out of their vests." To check the children's flotation devices and examine the overall safety of the vessel, the boarding officers directed the boat operator to pull up to the pier. "I didn't want to remove the kids' life jackets while they were underway," said Magana. "I felt safer checking them pier-side." Once docked, the boarding team identified themselves to the four adult males and three children on board. The boat operator didn't speak English, so boat crewmember, Petty Officer 3rd Class Alejandro Silva, bilingual in Spanish, aided in the communication. "There was contradiction in some of their statements so in Spanish I tried to clarify," said Silva. The boarding team found many safety violations on board and had to terminate the voyage due to insufficient personal flotation devices for the children. "Those kids could have easily fallen overboard and slipped right out of those vests and drowned," said Arburua. The boat operator did not have the required number of fire extinguishers or a (Type IV) throwable life ring on board. As the Coast Guard members continued to cite numerous safety violations, the demeanor of the boat operator and two of the adult males turned suspicious. "From my experience, when people act like that, there is something else going on," stated Magana. "That's when I asked if I could see everyone's ID." Radio communication with Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector LA/ LB and agents at the Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Task Force confirmed that three of the four males on board were in the country illegally. The Coast Guard boarding team escorted the boat back to the launch ramp, detained three of the four men, and transferred them to Los Angeles Border Enforcement Security Task Force agents for further investigation. "The kids went home with the 18-year-old male on board who had proper ID and was compliant throughout the boarding," said Magana. Boat crewmembers, Petty Officer 2nd Class Roger Watson, Petty Officer 3rd Class Vanessa Berardi, and Petty Officer 3rd Class David Vela aided with the communications to the Sector watchstanders and the boat handling throughout the patrol. "I was impressed with how the other boat crewmembers completed their tasks," said Magana. "We all communicated very well with each other. We had a game plan and we stuck to it. It was definitely a team effort that day." Around the Reserve (From left to right) Me3 Alejandro Silva, BM2 Travis Arburua, BM3 Vanessa Berardi, MK2 Roger Watson, BM3 David Vela and BM1 Richard Magana comprise a Reserve boat crew at Station LA/LB. Photo by PA2 Gina Ruoti 8 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2015

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