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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Page 28 of 55

R adios buzz with activity, and hushed voices fill the room as radio chatter crackles across secured communications. Equipment warms the room to an uncomfortable level, and sweat runs down foreheads, stinging the eyes. Radio watchstanders talk to underway boat crews and foot patrols, and the communications lead petty officer keeps a keen ear to his crew, listening to the ground-force positions, their operations and what they see on scene. One person stands out above the rest-- his friendly face and kind demeanor shine as a beacon through the darkened tent. No stranger to command centers, Operations Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Rojas is the communications lead petty officer as they broadcast over radios with the field across the bay, camps and vehicles in Pohang, Republic of Korea. Deployed to Pohang for Combined Logistics Over-the-Shore (CJLOTS), an operation of Exercise Operation Pacific Reach (OPRex17), in Pohang from April 1-15, more than 126 members made up of all eight Coast Guard Port Security Units (PSU) augmented together with PSU 312 for the exercise. Here in the tactical operations center (TOC), Rojas wouldn't have it any other way. With up to six boats underway and around- the-clock security personnel, juggling everyone's information is a job that requires patience and a multi-tasking passion for helping others. "It's exciting here, being hands-on, and I'm helping everyone out and keeping them from getting overwhelmed," said Rojas. "The TOC stays on my mind when I'm off. I take pride in my shop and my unit…" He trailed off as he jumped to the watch station to help a junior OS on the radios. Rojas has been in the Coast Guard Reserve and PSU 312 for his nine-year career. Currently, he's serving as the PSU's assistant command security officer, and was recently selected as PSU 312's reserve enlisted person on the year for 2016."He's a guy I can always depend on; I can always come to him if I need anything done," said Lt. Eileen Tomasiak, PSU 312's communications division chief. During early planning stages for the exercise, Rojas was part of the small team that spearheaded the planning stages, starting the crew clearance and event evolutions in Pohang and Seoul eight months prior. While there, he worked closely with members from U.S. and Korean military forces to develop a joint- communications and operations plan. That was only a small part of his time away from home. As a father of three, he knows the hardships that come with deploying and spending so much time away from family. In addition to this deployment, he has also answered the call to serve 10 months in Kuwait and nine in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He said the time away is tough, but coming home is all the reward he needs. That pride carries beyond his work. And for a guy that works behind closed doors, everyone he passes knows him or his trademark smile. Passing through the camp in Pohang, nearly every PSU member waves, and often Rojas stops to chat people up. Command Master Chief Erica Graeber said that she can always count on him; that he wouldn't hesitate for a minute to drive eight hours to help a shipmate out. "OS1 is the nexus of the PSU's comms division," Graeber said. "His positive energy and work ethic is infectious and leaves a tremendous impact on everyone at the PSU and those around him." Having been with the PSU so long, he's built long-time friendships and comraderie with other reservists, with whom he has shared time at the unit. When asking around the camp about what single word would describe Rojas, the answers vary, but they all echo the same sentiments: Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. � c ore Values to the c ore Beyond his drills, beyond his country: OS1 Rojas is dedicated to his shipmates Story and Photo by P a 1 Rob Simpson, P a D e T San Diego Operations Specialist 1st Class Jonathan Rojas Issue 3 • 2017 � RESERVIST 27

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