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

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 55

Reservist's Persistence Uncovers Remarkable Story of Sacrifice and Service On December 15th, 2016, eight members of Special Missions Training Center Deployment Training Detachment (SMTC- DTD) at Base Portsmouth, Va., conducted a wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Civil War Union Soldier, Private Charles Hazard at the Hampton National Cemetery in Hampton, Va. Private Hazard's grave, incorrectly marked and seemingly lost to his descendants, was a Great Uncle of one of SMTC-DTD's instructors, ME1 Carlos Sowell. In a private ceremony more than 150 years past due, Lt. Jon Berkshire read a eulogy and a wreath was placed at the gravestone of Private Hazard. After years of research, Sowell was able to connect another patriotic branch to his family tree. In our Nation's Bicentennial year of 1976, Sowell was in second grade. He was the only student of color in his class, well-liked by his peers and teachers alike. As a weekend homework assignment, his teacher asked the class to ask each of their parents about their ancestors, what countries they came from, and to give a short description to the class the following Monday. As the class concluded, his teacher quietly whispered in Carlos' ear, "Carlos, you don't have to do your homework assignment. Your ancestors were slaves." "I believe wholeheartedly that my second grade teacher thought she had acted with my best interest at heart when she excused me from that homework assignment. I remembered this instance through my adult life which helped compel me to want to learn about my ancestors, where they had come from, and how they lived. I had no idea I would discover such a profound history of patriotism and sacrifice," Sowell said. In 1990, Sowell entered law enforcement as a Connecticut State Trooper. In 2007, at the age of 38, in his seventeenth year as a Trooper, he joined the Coast Guard Reserve. He was first assigned to Sector Southeast New England in Providence, R.I., then to Port Security Unit 301 on Cape Cod, Mass. "Like many in our service, "Sowell stated, "it was September 11th, 2001, that compelled me to enter the Coast Guard once circumstances in my civilian career permitted." Sowell served in Kuwait and on the Iraqi Oil Platforms on the Security Response Team in 2009, with Combined Task Group 56.5. He returned to his civilian job for several years before retiring in 2012, after 22 years of police service. It was then that he began one of many tasks on his "bucket-list"; to research his family's history. "What I found through my research was astounding. I had no idea that some of my ancestors had touched or participated in so many historical events in our American history." Sowell learned that his 5th Great Grandfather, Private Simeon Simons, a Native American man from Norwich, Conn., joined the Continental Army in January of 1780, and served in the 1st Rhode Island Infantry Regiment. His unit was among the last units who saw combat at the Battle of Yorktown in October of 1781, during ME1 Carlos Sowell renders a hand salute to his Great Uncle Private Charles Hazard. Photo by GM1 o mar Bayness The headstone of Pvt. Charles Hazard. 14 RESERVIST � Issue 2 • 2017

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Reservist - ISS2 2017