ISS3 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 13 of 55

I was on a nine-month deployment to Djibouti, Africa, with my unit, Coastal Riverine Squadron One in the spring of 2014 when I read the first line of an email from RPM: "Congratulations on your assignment as the Senior Reserve Officer for District 17!" Looking forward to my first week in Alaska, I called ADTRAV, and I realized for the first time the option for "travelling to Alaska" was now meant for me. Fast forward to my first flight to Juneau, I realized that the one-hour difference in time zones did not account for the four extra hours of flight time on my itinerary. My flight from Seattle landed first in Ketchikan, then Sitka, and on the way to Juneau, the pilot informed us of a potential diversion to Anchorage due to high winds. I had hit the jackpot! I'd never been to Alaska, and I was going to hit all the hot spots in one day! I felt like giving the next flight attendant safety briefing, since I knew it so well by now, and I was happy to get to town and check in at the Juneau Hotel. Like a well-kept secret, D17 personnel welcomed me aboard, and they felt bad as they realized I must have flown on the "milk run." (I'll only make that mistake once.) I now realized what every Alaska resident already knew – this is not the lower 48. It's different. You can't even drive to Juneau, you have to take a ferry or a plane. Imagine departing Florida and heading to San Diego to conduct a single SAR case, or leaving Arkansas because you're needed in North Dakota. The state of Alaska will fit quite neatly in the middle of the United States and not leave a lot of room on either side. And the conditions can be brutal – just read the history of search and rescue cases over the last couple of years and note the loss of life involved. That's District 17. In March 1964, the most powerful earthquake recorded in North America (magnitude 9.2) struck Alaska, killing 139 people and causing $300 million in damage. Anchorage, Seward, and Valdez were changed forever. Now, in 2017, Valdez has a $1.4 billion oil terminal and pipeline terminus (with a 7.13 million barrel storage capacity), Anchorage has tripled in population from less than 100,000 to over 300,000 people. The Arctic has become an intense focus of interest across the geopolitical spectrum, and almost two million tourists visit the state annually. Over the next year, I started to have the same questions as everyone else: why don't we have more cutters? Why don't we have more assets, small boats, boat crews, reservists, Auxiliarists, oil pollution specialists, exercise planners, housing and medical clinics? Where is the exchange?! Why doesn't the sun come up until 10 in the morning during the winter? Protecting America's last frontier 12 RESERVIST � Issue 3 • 2017

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Reservist - ISS3 2017