Reservist

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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Rese R vist Magazine h eadqua R te R s u pdate Back to Cape May: The DEPOT Mentor Program Story by MCPO Joe H. Melton, USCGR Mentor: A wise and trusted counselor or teacher; an influential senior sponsor or supporter. Mentorship: The guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company, group, or educational institution. Most of us are aware of the Company Mentor program for recruit companies in our basic training center at Training Center Cape May (TRACEN), N.J. These opportunities are highly sought after and the competition is fierce. But, did you know that there are also opportunities to mentor the DEPOT (Direct Entry Petty Officer Training) companies as well? Well, I did not. I was selected to mentor DEPOT Company 02-17 which graduated January 26, 2017. My journey began last year when the yearly message came out inviting members to apply to be recruit company mentors. I applied as a part of my CG Headquarters office team, CG-12C Office of Leadership, and as a single member. Much to my surprise, my office team was selected as a mentor team for a recruit company and I was selected to mentor a DEPOT company. The initial selection email was sent by the Battalion Officer at Cape May with my company assignment, the approximate graduation date and the name of the lead Company Commander, or CC. A week or so before the class convening, I was asked for, and provided, a biography to present to the class. The email contact with the lead CC was painless but did require regular access to the CG email system. I had some interaction with the lead CC resolving logistical issues such as arrival time, berthing in the Unaccompanied Personnel Housing (UPH) and attendance at the combined mentoring session and end of class party. Being winter, the uniform for the graduation was Bravos, but the uniform for the mentoring session was ODUs. After arriving at Cape May, the timing worked out that I went immediately to the mentor session. I was surprised to find out that I had not only reservists in my company, but prior service and other service recruits going through the PITSTOP program to enter the active duty Coast Guard. This may occur in other DEPOT classes, so if you become a mentor, be forewarned! After an introduction, the CCs left the room and the recruits were free to ask questions. It did take a little ice breaking at first, but as they got comfortable and relaxed a little, the questions started to flow. The questions ran the gamut from, "What do I expect when I check in to my unit?" to "How do I become a Master Chief?" The active duty folks, especially those from other services, asked a lot of Coast Guard culture questions. These, sprinkled in with some retirement and TRICARE questions pretty much filled up the hour allotted and spilled into the next hour. All told, I spent about 2 and half hours with the recruits. The next day was the graduation. I arrived about 15 minutes early to go over the script. In attendance were Capt. Owen Gibbons, the TRACEN commander officer, Command Master Chief William Hollandsworth and Chaplain Shaun Brown. The training staff and the Capt. helped guide me through standing, sitting, and saluting at the proper times. The Capt. also read my bio as he introduced me for the graduation guest speaker remarks. I worked up about a 3 minute set of remarks to welcome our new shipmates. Afterwards, we graduated the company and we shook their hands and welcomed them aboard the United States Coast Guard. This was a very good experience, one that I highly recommend. We are working with the TRACEN staff to update their website to include DEPOT Company mentoring opportunities. We are also investigating ways to enhance the mentoring experience for the recruits without increasing costs or overstress Reserve time commitments. Some of the ideas so far are to have the mentor add a welcome aboard letter to the biography to be read in the first week and a Video Tele-conference/Skype call in the second week. These will expand the mentoring experience and set our new shipmates up for success. Graduation remarks: Good afternoon Captain Gibbons, Chaplain Brown, MC Hollandsworth, distinguished visitors, and DEPOT Class 02-17 It's hard to believe that almost exactly 19 years ago I was standing where you are today: a newly minted Coast Guard Petty Officer with a uniform so new I think it still had the tags in it. As Coast Guardsmen, you will be expected to be knowledgeable about the Coast Guard, your rate such as an MK or BM, and your role in the Armed Forces of the United States. Make no mistake, some of you may only have active service one weekend a month and two weeks a year, but you are military members 24/7 with all of the rights and responsibilities that entails. Your CAC card says "Affiliation: UNIFORMED SERVICES, Agency/ Department: COAST GUARD". You are a Coast Guardsman. Period. You have earned the right and the responsibility, by completing your training, to become a member of The United States Coast Guard. You bought it. It's yours. It's Issue 2 • 2017 � RESERVIST 37

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