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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Retiree SITREP has seemed to me as the ideal forum to present a longer range view of the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve than has been present in some of the articles following the section's 2014 introduction. I have to begin in 1940 when, during a vacation on Cape Cod (Massachusetts) we visited a Coast Guard Life Saving Station; one of those that still had the big, hand-rowed surf boat on a hand- pulled wagon. The Coast Guardsman in charge gave us a full explanation of how they would respond to a ship aground on the adjacent shore. I was impressed. Four years later, at age 16, I went to sea, sailing first for the Army Transport Service, which became the Military Transport Service and now the Military Sealift Command. During those years, there was a constant contact with Coast Guard Marine Inspection officers and examiners, which deepened my admiration for that service. After almost continuous sea service, a decision was made to spend more time at home with my wife (whom I had met when she served as a nurse on the U.S. Navy Transport "Gen. Hersey") and in 1958, I applied for and received a commission as an O-2 in the Coast Guard Reserve. After attending Direct Commission Officer (DCO) School 2-59, I began my 30 plus year affiliation with various Reserve units; the opportunity to command four of them (for a total of nine years as Commanding Officer) and the enjoyment of serving with some great officers and enlisted members of the 1960's and 1970's Coast Guard Reserve. One could argue that some CG Reserve units were poorly located for access to regular active duty CG units, and the availability of local U.S. Navy Reserve Centers was often the driving force as to location. These were the lean, mean years for all Reserve forces and the Coast Guard. We existed, in some cases, on the willingness of the USN to allow us to use their manual typewriters for administrative work and worked hard to make the weekend class work meaningful. There were some small successes. For example, in the late 60s at the Troy, N.Y. unit, I was able to advance five Chief Petty Officers' (CPO) to Warrant Officer in a single ceremony. But in reality, during those years, awards, medals, and commendations letters were practically non-existent. In 1968, someone in Coast Guard Headquarters decided that there should be more knowledge among CG Reserve Officers on the Polar Regions. Capt. Al Brier and I were selected to write up the course content and present, for three years, information and practical knowledge of the South and North Polar Regions (we both had experience in those regions) to CG Reserve officers, many who had to attend in a non-pay status. As we moved along through the 60's and into the 70's, additional funds seemed to be available. By the time I took over my fourth command, in Forest Park, Ill., wonders of wonders, there were electric typewriters for administrative staff and we also had a trailer-able small boat! Long before anyone could spell "deployable" there was "augmentation." Our unit embraced that concept and assigned our Reserve members to augment the five CG active duty units in the Chicago area; CG Air Station Glenview, Captain of the Port (COTP) Chicago, CG Station Wilmette, CG Cutter Arundel, District Investigation and used our boat on Fox Lake, COTP patrols and bridge inspections. This level of augmentation, with duty sections every weekend, placed a heavy load on the administrative and pay/supply staff. I was fortunate to have as administrative CPO, then YNC Forrest Croom (later the first MCPO of the CG Reserve), and SKC R. Breseman, who handled the complex situation of members drilling on four weekends with skill. Both of these CPO's were the key reason our unit always excelled during District inspections. The Past Was the Foundation for the Present Retiring Reservist Presented with Defense Meritorious Service Medal Capt. david L Teska, USCgR, was presented with the defense Meritorious Service Medal during his retirement ceremony at the Pentagon on June 30, 2015. Teska is shown here with members of his family; (l to r) daughter Laura, wife Kristy, and son Stephen. 58 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2016

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