ISS1 2018

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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l ast October, Petty Officer 2nd Class Ky Nguyen was in the middle of moving his family into a new house when he received a phone call. The reserve electronics technician for the Gulf Coast Strike Team in Mobile, Ala., had been recalled to support the Coast Guard's response to the one-two punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Nguyen was in the middle of one of the busiest times of his life, but he answered the call to step up and put his skills to use in the middle of the widespread devastation. He notified his job where he worked as HVAC specialist to deploy the following day to the U.S. Virgin Islands. s t. c r o i x m a r i t i m e o p e r at i o n s When Nguyen arrived on the island of St. Croix in mid- October, the needs of the people were readily apparent, yet he was struck by the resiliency and sense of community he experienced. "People were very friendly and seemed optimistic, despite all of the challenges ahead," Nguyen said. "Slowly, things were improving on the island, and people celebrated those little victories, rather than focusing on what they may be lacking." The Coast Guard, as part of a coordinated Federal Emergency Management Agency response, was working to evaluate and clean up spills and hazardous materials in the maritime environment. They also had to identify and recover vessels that had sunk or been displaced due to the hurricanes. On St. Croix, Nguyen served as a vessel assessment field responder. On most days, he conducted shoreside or waterside inspections of hurricane-impacted vessels. Throughout the Virgin Islands, over 400 vessels have been identified for removal from the waterways. Nguyen especially enjoyed working with the Coast Guard's partner agency, the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. While in the field, Coast Guard assessment teams worked alongside members of DPNR, local area experts who proved to be invaluable partners. "These are men and women who had their homes destroyed by the hurricanes, who worked full days with us, then went home to help with the cleanup and rebuilding process of their homes and those of their neighbors," Nguyen said. "The recovery will come to an end, but the friendships I've developed with people here on the island will endure for years to come." f l e e i n g f o r h i s l i f e Growing up, Nguyen never envisioned that joining the Coast Guard was even a possibility. He spent the first 13 years of his life in Saigon, Vietnam. Late one night in 1989, with the political situation becoming increasingly dire for the Vietnamese who et 2 k y n guyen ➡ st . croix , u . s . v . i . By p etty officer 2nd c lass p aul d ragin Petty Officer 2nd Class Ky n guyen, an electronic technician for the Gulf Strike t eam, Mobile, a la., assesses vessels as part of his work as a vessel assessment field responder, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin i slands, n ov. 2. 24 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2018

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