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

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Atte N t I o N Act I ve Duty: c ome to the " o ther" Side How a switch to the Reserve can reivigorate your desire to serve For various reasons, Coast Guard members decide to separate from the service prior to retirement. Whether it's to seek a new career, focus on family or gain an education, their life path takes them out of the service. Often though, the desire to serve never fully leaves. For those members, a second career in the Coast Guard Reserve might be what they need. Active duty members join the Reserve with the help of the In-Service Transfer Team at Coast Guard Recruiting Command. "If you're coming up on the end of your enlistment, contact us and we'll help you find a Selected Reserve billet," said Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Odell, a yeoman at the ISTT. "We start the process six months out, so that gives us plenty of time to find you a billet, get your retention documentation in line, and then forward that information to your active duty command so they can include that on your separation orders." The members of the ISTT act as career mentors for members transitioning into reserve status. As with any transitional period, it can be stressful, but the ISTT helps with every step of the process. "The hardest part is making sure we have a billet available," said Odell. "We do a lot of work with the assignment officers. If a billet comes back that's not what the member wants, we work with the member and the assignment officer to find what's available." "Every month Reserve Personnel Management gives us a list that tells us where the vacant billets are," said Lane Solak, head of the CGRC accessions department. "Let's say you're coming in as a YN2 into the First District. You check what's available, and then we make sure it fits your reasonable commuting distance, which is 100 miles. Basically, the ISTT does everything in their power to get you an assignment." Aside from continued service to country, switching to the reserves carries with it additional benefits as well. "Health care is the biggest benefit," said Odell. "Roughly, you're only going to be paying about $250 a month for Tricare Reserve Select." Additionally, the Coast Guard offers interim healthcare coverage for members transitioning into the Reserve. "Another big benefit is the Transitional Assistance Management Program," said Odell. "If you're active duty and get out and immediately affiliate with the reserves, you're entitled to 180 days of transition health care benefits. You don't have to pay for Tricare Reserve Select at that time." The second biggest benefit of joining the Reserve is the retirement. "If you have over six years of active duty, why throw it away?" said Solak. "You can go home, start a new career, and then give another 14 good years in the Reserve and get a retirement." One Coast Guardsman did exactly that and then some. Master Chief Petty Officer Eric Johnson, the sixth Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief, started his career as active duty and transitioned into the Reserve. "I joined the Reserve primarily to maintain my retirement," said Johnson, "but I stayed because of the people." As someone who has spent the majority of his career in the Reserve, Johnson understands the reasons why active duty members would look to transfer over. "They want to keep the door open; they want to leave and seek education or careers, but with affiliating with the Reserve, you have the opportunity to reintegrate with active duty," said Johnson. "So it isn't a clean break, and for a lot of people, they aren't ready for a clean break. People can try it, and see if it's a fit, and at least they're not closing the Coast Guard door completely." Every year the Coast Guard has a set number of Reserve billets it needs to fill. The Coast Guard constantly seeks qualified active duty members to continue their hard work and commitment to service in the reserves. "Something that's very important to me is that anyone leaving active duty, regardless of rating, regardless of time in service; if they have conducted themselves appropriately, if they have a good Coast Guard record, we want them as reservists," said Johnson. "Having someone who has proven themselves as dependable is critical in coming into the Coast Guard Reserves. I'm saying it loud and clear, any Coast Guard members will be welcomed into the Reserve." — Story by PA2 Ryan Tippets 14 RESERVIST � Issue 3 • 2017

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