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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t aps Florence Ebersol Finch, SPAR died Thursday, December 8, 2016, in Ithaca, New York. She was 101. Of the thousands of women who have served with honor in the United States Coast Guard, one stands out for her bravery and devotion to duty. Florence Smith Finch, the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran and Filipino mother, was born on the island of Luzon, north of Manila, in Santiago City. She married navy PT boat crewman Charles E. Smith while working for an army intelligence unit located in Manila. In 1942, after the Japanese invaded the Philippines, her young husband died trying to re-supply American and Filipino troops trapped by the enemy on Corregidor Island and the Bataan Peninsula. After the Japanese occupied Manila, Finch avoided internment by claiming her Philippine citizenship. She received a note from her imprisoned army intelligence boss regarding shortages of food and medicine in the POW camps. Finch began assisting with locating and providing smuggled supplies to American POWs and helping provide fuel to Filipino guerrillas. In October 1944, the Japanese arrested Finch, beating, torturing and interrogating her during her initial confinement. Through it all, she never revealed information regarding her underground operations or fellow resisters. When American forces liberated her prison camp in February 1945, Finch weighed only eighty pounds. She boarded a Coast Guard-manned transport returning to the United States and moved to her late father's hometown of Buffalo, New York. In July 1945, she enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, eager to continue the struggle against an enemy that had killed her husband. Finch served through the end of the war and was among the first Pacific-Island American women to don a Coast Guard uniform. After the war, she met U.S. Army veteran Robert Thorton Finch. They married and moved to Ithaca, New York, where they lived the remainder of their lives. Of the thousands of SPARs serving in World War II, she was the first to be honored with the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Ribbon. In November 1947, she received the U.S. Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian medal awarded to Americans who aided in the war effort. In 1995, the Coast Guard honored her service by naming a facility for her at Coast Guard Base Honolulu. She is survived by her daughter, Betty Finch Murphy, her son, Bob Finch. Also surviving are her sister, Olive Keats in California, her grandchildren Rob Murphy, Bryan Murphy, Heather Murphy, Chad Murphy, Annie Finch ,and Logan Finch. Also surviving Florence are her two great grandchildren, Trey and Lucas Murphy, along with numerous family members in New York, Maryland, California, Arizona and Alaska. Fifteen members of the Industrial Production Detachment St. Louis Reserve Repair Team were recognized May 11 at the St. Louis Federal Executive Board Awards Breakfast held in St. Louis. The Repair Team was recalled and deployed for last year's Hurricane Matthew disaster response efforts. In recognition of this effort, they received the "Level I - Trades and Craft Team Award" for their work fixing damage to buildings and infrastructure at several Coast Guard facilities in the impact zone. This storm killed 47 people in the U.S., and according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the damage from Matthew reached $10 billion. Coordinating through the Coast Guard Surface Forces Logistics Center in Norfolk, Va., and deployed under Title 14 authority, the repair team and their two response trailers traveled over 3,000 miles across six states. "When we headed into Savannah, we could see trees knocked down, houses destroyed, utility trucks lining the roads. The air station sustained a lot of roofing damage," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Derek Holmes. "Our primary focus was making sure the units could maintain 100 percent operational readiness, so we adjusted our plan, whether it was restoring power, setting up generators or patching up roofs." Over the next eight days, the team, consisting largely of engineers, electricians and damage controlmen, spent more than 1,440 man hours to complete comprehensive damage assessments and reconstruction repairs to Coast Guard infrastructure at Air Station Savannah, Ga., Fleet Law Enforcement Training Center Charleston, S.C., and Station Mayport, Fla. The Hurricane Matthew Repair Team included: CWO3 Derek Holmes, Team Leader DCCM Mark Webb, Team Supervisor DCC Theodore Reinker DCC Todd Heigert DCC Cory Yates SKC Ronald Labahn EM1 Jeremy Olson EM1 Jared Charland DC1 Jacob Wernsing MK1 Kevin Saak MK1 Jarrod Statler MK2 Edward Schlueter MK2 Daniel Schlueter MK2 Kyle Saunders MK2 Aaron Levinson "We're honored to get this award for the work we did," said Holmes, who said the trade skills his team members brought from their civilian jobs are invaluable. "This [team] is one of the best kept secrets of the Coast Guard. It's a unique and necessary job, just not very well known. We're always looking for our next ADT project." "The RT maintains their proficiency for their roles in contingency response by doing special projects. They spent their most recent two weeks of ADT rebuilding the OSAGE unaccompanied personnel housing, which includes remodeling four bathrooms and barrack rooms, saving the Coast Guard around $250,000 in one deployment," said Capt. Jen Grzelak-Ledoux, Office of Personnel and Reserve Force Readiness Chief for the DOL. "We've got a lot of hidden talent in our Reserve workforce, and we're thankful this team came through for the Coast Guard when we needed them. Bravo zulu." — Submitted by Mr. Scott Ogan Reserve Repair Team Takes Trade Excellence Award in St. Louis Issue 3 • 2017 � RESERVIST 51

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