Reservist

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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a fter a dozen years in the active duty Coast Guard, Marie Sevin made the difficult decision to transfer to the Reserve. Her friends were in awe – not only was Sevin a Type 3 Incident Commander and seasoned prevention officer, but she'd just pinned on her new rank of lieutenant commander. After moving around the country so many times, Sevin was giving her husband Ty the chance to follow his dream of being the track and field coach for the University of Texas. She took a billet at Marine Safety Detachment Texas City, and nestled into her new role as a stay-at-home mother to her newborn son and three-year-old daughter. Last August, she was getting ready for her daughter's first day of first grade, but by force of habit, Sevin kept one eye on the news, noting the unusual weather predicted for Houston. She'd responded to Hurricane Katrina and could feel things were about to get hairy. She put in calls to both sets of grandparents, asking them if they could find time in their schedules for an extended visit. Just in case. Working with the RFRS staff, Sevin drove down from Austin to be the liaison officer for Sector Houston hours before the storm hit. A light rain was falling as the sector set up its ICS structure, and staffing dropped to minimal levels as people went home to ready their families. Before heading to her hotel for the night, Sevin put in a call to the mayor's office for a potential meeting the next day to discuss any damage that might occur in the upcoming storm. "It all promptly got cancelled," remembered Sevin. "We were not expecting anything to that magnitude." She said the next few days following the hurricane blurred into one very, very long day. Her hotel, chosen for its proximity to base, became a haven for those stuck by flooded roads. Rescue personnel (both military and first responders) couldn't report in. They were stuck in their homes and hotel rooms, or riding bikes, driving in the middle of the road (the high point), catching a lift with other first responders. She threw her suitcase into her car and lcdr m arie s evin ➡ houston, t exas B y a nastasia d evlin Lt. Cmdr. Marie Sevin spent several weeks deployed to Sector Houston in support of the hurricane response. Photo courtesy of the Sevin family. members. When the president, the commandant or other dignitaries visited, the team augmented their assigned security details as necessary. When a crowd of vessels waited offshore with supplies for the damaged city of Houston, the team saw an opportunity. "We talked to the [command center] and started going out with the station to do [high interest vessel] boardings to help clear the backlog." When the port reopened, the intense two weeks of Hurricane Harvey's response finally slowed down for the reserve enforcement team, but with a chain of hurricanes looming in the Caribbean, Bazzrea knew the team was just getting warmed up. "I started emailing all the chiefs from the affected areas letting them know that we could come help," he said, "and they emailed me back almost immediately – from Miami, from Key West, from Puerto Rico – they needed help." Within days, Sector Houston's reserve enforcement team grabbed whatever food and supplies they could and took off in rental cars for New Orleans. From there, they flew to Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla., which was the hub for military members transiting to the hurricane-wrecked Caribbean. Irma had just swept through, and Bazzrea and his team were headed to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. On the way, they made friends with the Clearwater pilots, who proved to be a great resource when the team needed generators, food, water or other supplies. Upon arrival in St. Thomas, the dozen or so MEs took random assignments, everything from setting tarps, cleaning buildings, assisting Coast Guard Investigative Service agents, providing security for Marine Safety Detachment St. Thomas, sending roving foot patrols around the island, accompanying the Coast Guard teams that were doing assessments, and providing armed escorts for supplies. They shared their gear and rations with fellow Coast Guardsmen and their dependents. "We worked the guys hard and long, but they all knew what the mission was, and they stepped up to do it," said Bazzrea. "We tried to give them a few hours off every now and then, but we were working 16- to 18-hour days, easily." When Hurricane Maria came through the islands, the team evacuated back to Clearwater for a few days. Bazzrea and his team called to check on their families when they could. 30 RESERVIST � Issue 1 • 2018

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