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 31 of 55

Editor's Note: We covered the first part of Handy's story in our last issue. Handy, a 33-year veteran who served in World War II, started the first Coast Guard chapter of the Reserve Officers Association (ROA) and led the fight for the Reserve's initial appropriation. This $1 million amendment brought the Reserve back after a three-year disbandment following WWII. For more, read "Hidden Figure," on page 18 of Issue 2, 2017, at A Change of d irection The more I read the documents, the more I appreciate the work of good people who were in the right place at the right time. We all know reservists who quietly go above and beyond their job to make sure the Coast Guard succeeds, and this story, while at the congressional level, is no different. But as I heard the captain say many, many times during our interviews, "Let me back up for just a second." After securing its initial appropriation, Handy spent the '50's strengthening the Reserve from the inside. He served on the first Reserve policy boards, and noted with pride that more than 4,100 reservists who were proficient in port security had voluntarily accepted orders in support of the Korean War. The officer corps alone was boosted by almost 30 percent. Within the ROA, Handy corresponded with Secretaries, congressmen and military officials, growing the VIP list for the Coast Guard ROA's annual dinner in honor of National Defense Week. This anticipated and celebrated event cemented congressional and departmental connections for the Reserve, as well as the bond between active and reserve officers. In 1957, he turned over the leadership of the ROA and the Coast Guard Affairs Committee to younger members, so he could focus on his orders as the new commanding officer of the Organized Reserve Training Unit (Port Security) ORTUPS 05- 148 in Washington, D.C. Handy was a plankowner of the ORTUPS, which, in those days, only received official orders for the officers. As for enlisted, "we swore in anyone we managed to snare," said Handy, laughing at the old practice of increasing his unit's strength simply by word of mouth. The unit itself was a product of Handy's earlier drive and initiative: the Reserve's first appropriation helped fund the Reserve training program nationwide. Fiercely loyal to his unit since becoming its first executive officer in 1951, Handy even asked to defer his promotion to commander when there was a chance he might be transferred afterward. Handy worked for the Treasury as a financial analyst, about a block and a half from the White House, and his boss was aware of how much time his employee devoted to Coast Guard matters. In fact, Handy remembered encountering the man in an elevator as he was leaving for a meeting in uniform. Noting the new third stripe on his sleeve, his boss said, "Well, Handy, I see you got a promotion. If you worked as hard here as you do for the Coast Guard, you might get promoted here too!" The corners of his mouth twitched, and Handy realized he was joking. As proof, two years later, Handy was offered the aforementioned promotion. Leaving the r at r ace "At the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains [in Virginia], the Bureau of the Mines had worked for years testing [drill] bits on the toughest rocks, drilling way into the mountains," said Handy. "Eisenhower arranged to take over the site and construct an underground system of offices protected against blasts and radiation. There were at least 25 or 30 separate buildings inside the mountain there." Every department would have a representative in the line of succession who would be located there at all times in case of a surprise attack on the country. Handy became the Treasury's permanent representative at the highly-classified facility in the Shenandoah Valley, now known as the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center – the same location that sheltered members of Congress on 9/11. Handy moved his young family to a three-acre property in a small town nearby, and he added a stable and a corral for horses. His daughters were delighted by the extra hours their father was able to spend with them, making up for his time being split between the Treasury and the Reserve in the '50s. "If I have any one regret, it's that I spent so much time on Coast Guard matters that it took time from my two daughters," he said, pausing to think, as the words caught in his throat. "This always bothers me. I tried to spend weekends taking them mountain climbing, fishing, or visiting the local caverns." Handy came to appreciate the slower, more private setting, as well as the opportunity to manage his own schedule. Making high-profile decisions was something he felt comfortable doing, and he spent the next ten years refining the Treasury's emergency plans and procedures – something he received both informal and formal recognition for multiple times. Years of researching both Treasury and Coast Guard matters had given him confidence, a level head and a predilection for giving honest feedback. "I was never brash or confrontational," said Handy. "I prepared in advance, knew how I wanted to present my subject, and what position or action I wanted them to take." These qualities would be essential to him as the 1960s came to a close. Equally, Handy's new location and schedule would be as helpful to the Reserve during the '70s as his co-located Treasury office had been in the '50s. But, let me back up. Again. In 1969, newly-elected President Richard Nixon inherited a weak economy from Lyndon Johnson, and Nixon's budget strategists were determined to prevent a recession. Around the same time, the Coast Guard had just completed a two year-long "Reserve Training Concepts and Force Analysis" study. The study noted that the smallest the Selected Reserve (SELRES) could be, while still accomplishing its wartime functions, was 16,590 members. (The total figure was closer to 24,000, but that included the 30 percent of Ready Reserves – retirees and former service members.) A copy of that study was sent to Department of Transportation Secretary John Volpe, because, two years earlier, the Service had been moved from the Treasury to the DOT. But due to lack of communication, lack of understanding by a brand new department headed by a brand new Secretary, or said department's sheer desperation to save money, the relevance of the Reserve wouldn't be reflected in the president's 1971 budget. 30 RESERVIST � Issue 3 • 2017

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