ISS2 2017

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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With her eyes intently focused on a chart, Coast Guard reservist Petty Officer 3rd Class Casondra Minifield carefully plotted a course on the waterways surrounding Station Curtis Bay in Baltimore on a duty weekend. Among the tasks with the small boat station that Saturday, the boatswain's mate prepared for an exam, worked lines and navigated a 25-foot Coast Guard response boat in Maryland's Patapsco River. Minifield, who graduated in 2016 from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Va., is now a graduate student at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. She takes great pride in her work with the Coast Guard and in all the commitments that fill her schedule. A multi-sport athlete and community volunteer, Minifield said she pushes herself for a reason. She has a sense of duty to be a good example, to put in the hard work needed for success and help forge a way for those who come after her, she said. "I always make sure that when I am doing what I have to do, that I am doing all I can do," said Minifield, who hails from Winchester, Va. "I try to work through all my failures and I don't ever get mad at myself or down on myself because failing is part of life." Past generations made tremendous sacrifices for the opportunities and freedoms of today, she explained. "Our duty is to keep digging away, keep making that path," she said. Minifield, who has an undergraduate degree in psychology, is studying forensic and legal psychology at Marymount University. She wants to advance in the Coast Guard and even perhaps become a commissioned officer. Her dream job in the civilian world, she said, is to work in the federal law enforcement field. Joining the Coast Guard Not wanting to wait until after college, Minifield, who loves the water and swam competitively in high school and college, set her sights on the Coast Guard while a student. After her freshman year at VMI she raised her right hand and began her journey in the Coast Guard Reserve, which brought her to this station tucked away on Curtis Creek, a four-hour drive from Lexington. "It was an easy choice," she said, about seeking to become a boatswain's mate, a job that demands expert knowledge of seamanship, boat operations and waterway navigation. Minifield is an exemplary shipmate and role model, according to the executive petty officer of Station Curtis Bay. "She is a very well-rounded boatswain's mate and has made significant contributions both personally and professionally," Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Jeffrey C. Ritter, Jr. said. Ritter praised Minifield's solid work ethic, dedication, initiative and commitment. In addition to qualifying as a crewmember, she is also a certified military fitness specialist who leads physical training at the station, he said. Minifield had a rigorous schedule at VMI where she immersed herself in leadership activities, athletics and glee club, and volunteered with children. She pushed herself athletically, Coast Guard Petty o fficer 3rd Class Casondra Minifield, a reservist boatswain's mate, takes part in training on the Patapsco River in Maryland, May 21, 2016. Minifield graduated from Virginia Military i nstitute in 2016, and is now a graduate student at Marymount University in Virginia. Face of Defense: Coast Guard Reservist Succeeds Through Hard Work, Dedication 10 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2017

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