Reservist

ISS1 2016

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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DHS Joint Task Force-West: Deep in the Heart of Texas You may ask, "What is a group of Coast Guardsmen doing in land-locked San Antonio, Texas at a Border Security Task Force?" In December of 2014, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson created three task forces to support the DHS Southern Border and Approaches Campaign: Joint Task Force-East, Joint Task Force- Investigations, and Joint Task Force-West (JTF-W). JTF-W's area of responsibility includes the U.S. southern land border and the littorals in Texas and Calif., and is headquartered in San Antonio. Its membership includes representatives from throughout DHS including U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), FEMA and the U. S. Coast Guard. JTF-W implements a unified approach to improving how DHS protects the Homeland against threats originating outside our borders. The intent of the campaign is effective enforcement and interdiction across land, sea, and air; to degrade transnational criminal organizations; and to decrease the terrorism threat to the nation, while facilitating the flow of lawful trade, travel, and commerce across our borders. To have a valued impact on border security from a Department-wide perspective, it is imperative to have involvement from all across DHS. The Coast Guard committed wholly to the endeavor from the outset. Since its inception, JTF-W has grown from a small scale operation in Laredo, Texas, into a robust organization filling out its new headquarters just outside Joint Base Fort Sam Houston. JTF-W's Joint Operational area is broken down into four corridors: California, Arizona, New Mexico/West Texas and South Texas. This allows each corridor to focus operations on deterring, disrupting and dismantling criminal organizations in their area, while coordinating across boundary lines through the Joint Operational Area to maximize effectiveness. The Coast Guard contingent at JTF-W consists of a diverse group of active duty and Reserve members, ranging from Second Class Petty Officer to Rear Admiral, serving in Administration, Intelligence, Operations, Logistics, Planning, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Director capacities. Job vacancies at the JTF-W slotted for Coast Guard personnel were advertised and filled through the MRTT Volunteer Bulletin board with the first members reporting in February. Capt. James Spotts became the Intelligence Section Chief (J2) and later the Chief of Staff, with Capt. Gerald Nauert as Back row (l-r): Lt. Kyle Stone, iS2 dallas Shaw, Capt. James Spotts, Cmdr. gretchen, and Lt. Michael Starnes. Front row (l-r): S/a Mario Cintron, Lt. Cmdr. Cari Bower, Capt. gerald nauert and Lt. gary demetreon. Sector St. Petersburg Reserve Hurricane Exercise In the heat of a stifling Florida summer, reservists from Sector St. Petersburg, Fla., devoted two days to contingency readiness at an all-hands hurricane exercise (HURREX). The scores of participants realized that preparation is the best protection against the hazards of a hurricane, and extended that lesson from personal and family readiness to professional excellence. On the first day, Sector St. Petersburg Reserve personnel attended training geared toward hurricane readiness, and members of the Sector's full-time Reserve Force Readiness and Contingency Planning/Force Readiness staffs set expectations and outlined the exercise parameters. Readiness exercises cannot happen in a vacuum and often take considerable time, resources and cooperation to prepare. The St. Petersburg HURREX was no exception. In the weeks leading up to the event, servicemen and women reviewed their contact information, participated in recall tests, and reviewed their assignments on the unit Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill (WQSB), which informs members of their positions and responsibilities in case of various emergency situations. Unit leadership also encouraged members to review the training requirements associated with those positions, print out copies of Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) for Incident Command System (ICS) assignments, and job aides so that reservists could use their exercise experience to gain sign-offs for task completion. As part of the exercise, active duty petty officers and officers with specific ICS experience with Logistics, Finance, Operations, and Planning participated as facilitators and served as subject matter experts to answer questions and keep the exercise on pace. Active duty counterparts also helped set-up the Incident Command Post (ICP) as well as configure and trouble-shoot electronics such as laptops and printers. On the day of the exercise, members checked into the ICP, reported to their work stations, and in some cases collected their color-coded vests. In the realm of ICS, standardization of terminology is key along with the division of labor and an hierarchy of supervision. Brightly colored vests help identify the relevant point of contact from across a room and if you don't know the person's name the vests make it easy to recognize their title. The first few minutes passed in a flurry of organized chaos: members identified and assigned resources, work spaces rapidly filled with personnel and paperwork, and participants covered the walls with charts, weather reports, and notes. Some Sector personnel had no previous experience with ICS while others brought years of expertise to the table; as facilitators advanced the storm, participants started to receive port updates and settle into a rhythm of planning, meetings, briefs, and decision-making. The Marine Science Technicians (MSTs), a group of more than twenty personnel, broke off with their active duty counterparts to conduct training on Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Techniques (SCAT) – NOAA's way of standardizing and systematically surveying affected areas before and after emergencies or upon reports of maritime pollution. Once the teams 16 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2016

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