Reservist

ISS4 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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G reetings from Coast Guard Headquarters! Historically, contributors to this column have been master chief petty officers in gold badge assignments. I'm grateful for this opportunity to write for the Reservist and applaud the new editor's approach in broadening the reach to other senior enlisted members. As a boatswain's mate with a strict history of operational units, Headquarters was an unusual 'first pick' during assignment season. But, the college professor side of me instilled an overwhelming sense of curiosity. Four years ago, I took this opportunity and finally got to pull back the curtain and meet the wizard… turns out there are 4,000 of them. The truth is, I've had my share of criticism of Headquarters. Every time a policy change trickled down, it was easy to point fingers and assume it was contrived in a vacuum with no thought as to how it impacts us in the field. I'm humbled to say this perspective has proven to be far from accurate – the folks here take great care in how policies are formulated, and they're as deeply passionate about achieving the strategic-level objectives as we are about achieving the operational ones. But, just we sometimes size them up wrong, they sometimes size us up wrong, too. Recently, during a casual discussion with a group of analysts, someone commented that it was surprising there was not greater attrition rates in the Reserve force since some of our incentives have been cut, like tuition assistance. In other words, lower compensation would statistically equate to more people leaving the force. Instinctively, I knew this was attributed to factors that could not be quantified, so I propose that the following three qualitative factors are missing from the equation: • Service to Self – The armed forces comprises less than one percent of the U.S. population, and, being the smallest branch, we are only a fraction of that number. This is perhaps elite, or at the very least, something quite special. As individuals, we inevitably have a combination of intellectual, physical and emotional capabilities that others might not possess, along with a burning desire to challenge those abilities. Basic training, "A" school, monthly drills, range qualification, job certifications, fitness tests, qualification insignias, etc. – all these serve to satisfy our 'desire' to be challenged. • Service to Country – Reservists also have a service-oriented personality. We indulge the above stressors of training so we are ready to answer our nation's call. This is something recently displayed here at Headquarters when Hurricane Harvey brought out the best of us - Reserve, active, civilian and Auxiliary. Due to an influx of over 1,000 phone calls per hour to District 8 and Sector Houston, all phone lines were forwarded to the National Command Center. NCC simply doesn't have the capacity for this volume so CGHQ personnel pulled together and quickly set up four conference rooms with phones and computers, then, staffed them with volunteers from throughout the National Capital Region. I sat next to other drilling reservists, master chiefs who ran their shops during the day then took an eight-hour watch instead of heading home, several seamen from the Honor Guard, and an admiral and his wife who stood a four- and eight-hour watch, respectively. This wasn't a photo op, all were eager to put their years of training and preparation to good use. In essence, a little bit of selfishness (service to self) empowers our selflessness (service to country). • Service to Shipmates – In between the training and the mission is our shipmates. Service to self and service to country are short-fused items; the wave doesn't last too long. But, the enduring friendship and camaraderie with shipmates, with whom you shared those long hours, can last a lifetime – it is without a doubt one of the best payoffs of being a reservist. So, to the analysts at HQ, until you can account for the qualitative factors, expect the unexpected. Sure, we want the incentives back – and we certainly deserve them – but money is the icing, not the cake. Reservists are not going to quit just because we lost our Christmas bonus; our drive to be part of this organization goes far deeper than can be quantified. And to my shipmates in the Reserve: keep doing what you're doing, for the all reasons you're doing it. Your dedication and professionalism is being noticed, at all levels. Semper Paratus. Master Chief Petty Officer Michael J. Rosati Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor, Base National Capital Region "And to my shipmates in the Reserve: keep doing what you're doing, for the all reasons you're doing it. Your dedication and professionalism is being noticed, at all levels." Rese R vist Magazine d eckplate s oundings Issue 4 • 2017 � RESERVIST 7

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