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 24 of 55

Curled-edge, black and white photos of the event showed men laughing and talking over cocktails and cigars, uniforms mixing with suits, presentations made over vintage microphones. (No ladies were invited, with the exception of female officers.) The dinner was a success, and Handy's ever-ticking mind made a mental note to make it an annual event. Coverage of the dinner was (strategically) made available to magazines and local papers. Handy himself drafted multiple articles for publication in late 1949, highlighting the reasons for having a strong Reserve force available for emergency recall, one that was trained to fight fires, supervise military outloads and protect against sabotage. In early 1950, as part of his congressional outreach efforts, Handy and his team sent copies of his articles to key members of Congress, as well as the Coast Guard ROA chapters. Reserve officers were instructed to educate their congressmen and senators on Reserve efforts, write opinion letters and editorials, and gain support from local stakeholders (heads of shipping companies, shipbuilding companies, drydocks, and marine terminals) for a Coast Guard Reserve appropriation. By now, Handy was spending quite a bit of his (and the Treasury's) time working on the Coast Guard's behalf. Handy's narritive would strike true with many of the Coast Guard's reservists today: "I had a very understanding boss, and he had a very understanding boss, and at lunch time I could walk down and meet with people at the Coast Guard office. Also, at the time, my secretary, poor girl, my secretary also had to type quite a bit of Coast Guard material in addition to our own work. … [F] requently, I'd tell my secretary, 'Mark me down for two hours of annual leave, I'll be over at the Coast Guard,' and so that's the way that worked. I used quite a bit of my annual leave in one or two hour bits like that while I went to Coast Guard Headquarters to work on all kinds of things." Handy's older daughter Jean, with long gray hair flowing over her shoulders, had been listening to her father's stories. She laughed at this point, remembering her perspective as a child. "We had an official term, it was called 'daddy's Coast Guard calls,' and what that meant was, 'He's on the telephone, and he's going to be on the telephone for the next three hours, don't bother him.'" She and her younger sister Carol laughed at they recalled the family's understanding of their father's dedication to his mission. Despite the personal cost to his family, Handy's persistence was tireless, and he began to see a glimmer of progress. One of contacts recommended by the "socialite" Downing was Walter P. Kennedy, the administrative assistant to a congressman from New Jersey. Kennedy, Downing and Handy worked together to get Congressman Gordon Canfield to introduce a $1 million initial appropriation. Canfield jumped at the chance, and he and his secretary became fast friends with the officers. They began to work in earnest, and Coast Guard Reserve officers nationwide were instructed to get as many congressmen as they could to vote for the new $1 million amendment. The National ROA instructed their leaders nationwide to contact their congressmen, and the National ROA's lobbyists were directed to support the amendment as well. Handy went a step further. As the time for the vote drew near, he provided lists of congressmen's names to members of the Coast Guard ROA's Washington, D.C. chapter. The officers were instructed to wait in the galleries and, at the correct moment, notify members of Congress to head in to vote. In the meantime, Handy began work on the second annual Coast Guard Reserve dinner. The dinner was in honor of newly appointed commandant, but Handy received last minute news that changed the feel of the event. In the words of one magazine: "[G]uests attending the dinner had another unexpected cause for celebration when the House of Representatives, only two hours before the dinner, tentatively approved an amendment to provide funds for training for the USCGR in its vital port security functions." The dinner was a resounding success. In his remarks, Vice Adm. Alfred C. Richmond, a close friend of Handy's, said the Reserve would have to "pull itself up by its own bootstraps." Handy and the ROA had done just that. As Handy stood at the head table that night, he thanked Canfield for introducing the bill, but he also knew the reservists themselves had a lot to do with the day's success. "We could account for most of the votes by which Gordon [Canfield]'s amendment passed," said Handy, knowing which votes had been the result of not-so-subtle Reserve reminders. The Reserve was back in business. Now, I don't know if I could say whether the win would be attributed to Handy's persistence, cleverness, and education, or if it was the correct alignment of the planets that sent him to the Coast Guard when they so badly needed him. It was a win, and the start of a lot more work. After four hours of talking with the captain, all of us were exhausted, but we promised to come back out. We still had to hear the rest of the story. � Capt. Handy with his daughters, Carol (l.) and Jean. Issue 2 • 2017 � RESERVIST 23

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Reservist - ISS2 2017