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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in recognition of the coast guard reserve's 75th anniversary, the story below is the first in a series linking the origins of the reserve to the missions of today. this issue we Put the sPotlight on national defense. Today's Coast Guard Reserve force is integrated with almost every active duty mission, though the Reserve maintains readiness to support its three main missions: maritime homeland security, domestic disaster operations, and national defense. The last of these missions, national defense, is the longest- running mission, the one that led to the creation of the Coast Guard Reserve itself. The firsT mission: naTional defense The Reserve force got its start at the beginning of World War II, in February 1941, when Congress passed the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act. A "civilian reserve" had been formed in 1939, but this act gave them their more-appropriate title of "Coast Guard Auxiliary," and laid the groundwork for a military reserve force, or the Coast Guard Reserve. The main mission of the brand new Reserve: fight the war. Two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, enlistment regulations changed, and everyone joining the Coast Guard was signed on as a regular reservist for "the duration of the war, plus six months." Of the 214,000 Coast Guardsmen who served in World War II, more than 92 percent were reservists. Back in the U.S., the increased tempo of war activities was reflected in increased responsibilities within the ports. The number of Captains of the Port (and assistants COTP units) was increased by 30%, and the need for shore-side protection and small boat patrols increased. Full-time port security Coast Guardsmen were being deployed to sea duty, but Temporary Reserve personnel and Auxiliarists filled the gaps. The second mission: PorT securiTy and safeTy At the war's end, reservists were released to inactive duty or discharged, but the Coast Guard was taking on more missions, specifically, port security. During his time as Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Russell Waesche remarked, "Port security and the safety of shipping is a responsibility which rests wholly on the Coast Guard as an organization, and as a result of that responsibility, you people are very much on the spot." He noted the complication of weighing security measures with timeliness of the shipping industry, especially for materials needed in war zones. Waesche's assistant commandant, Adm. Charles Park, pointed out the significance of this second mission, saying, "I think it may be truly said that of all these many activities in which the Coast Guard is directly engaged, the most important is the port security function." In mid 1948, training plans and a formalized retirement schedule for a Reserve force were laid out, ensuring the Reserve was kept ready to mobilize for future national emergencies. Due to increased tensions during the Korean War period, Congress authorized funding of the first Coast Guard Reserve units, called ORTUPs (Organized Reserve Training Unit, Port Security). Once a week, for four hours, Reserve officers and enlisted men gathered to train in port security. Thirty-five of these units maintained training for more than 8,000 reservists in the 1950s. Reserve strength peaked at the height of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s at almost 18,000 men. Coast guard Historian 32 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2016

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