ISS2 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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The Guardian Angel of the Reserve Editor's note: We're happy to close the loop on the Handy story from 2017's Issues 2 and 3, in which we detailed his contributions to the Coast Guard Reserve. The officer was honored by the Reserve Officers Association and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft in a ceremony held at the ROA building March 19 in Washington, D.C. Wearing a fedora and a long wool coat, Capt. Walter Handy arrived at the Reserve Officers Association building flanked by his wife Shirley and their grinning family members. He was immediately pinned with his nametag for the evening, and below his name were the words, "Godfather USCGR." From the minute he stepped inside the doors of the elegant stone building, the captain became the belle of the ball, shaking hands and receiving introductions, meeting old friends and making new ones. Though the din in the lobby made it hard for him to hear occasionally, Shirley remained at his side, clarifying the introductions and memorizing names. Five stories above, the crowd of current and retired officers of all branches of service gathered. The captain was awed to meet the officers in roles he'd helped to establish or retain, including the Director of Reserve Adm. Scott McKinley, whose position Handy had lobbied for in a testimony before Congress in 1951, and the Chief of the Office of Reserve Affairs Capt. Bill Csisar, whose predecessors had called Handy when the fate of the Reserve seemed dire. None of these words were spoken, however, and gratitude flowed both ways across the handshakes. The evening began with the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Minuteman Building, which is the Reserve Officers Association headquarters. After the reading of a short history of the building and congratulatory remarks that would be added to the congressional record, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft began his remarks. He mentioned that the Reserve had two fathers: Adm. Russell Waeshe, the founder of the Reserve in World War II, and Adm. Merlin O'Neill, the commandant who reinvigorated the Reserve by refocusing its missions. "But at the end of the day we only had one guardian angel." "He had great financial acumen," said Zukunft. "He understood that what drives this nation's economy in peacetime and wartime was our ports and securing those ports." Midway through his remarks, the commandant looked over at Handy and joked that the centenarian "doesn't look one day over 100 – even though he turned 100 yesterday." Though the rest of the room stood, Walter sat with Shirley, glowing in the accolades and appreciation. The couple, whose arms remained linked for the evening, smiled and laughed as the commandant teased Walter about his penchant for doing Coast Guard business on "Treasury time" at his old job in the middle decades of the previous century. He even thanked daughters Jean and Carol for their support of their father's careers. "[Handy] really lived two complete lives," said Zukunft. "It's not unlike all our reserve officers: our citizen servicemen who give 100 percent to the service, even though they have full-time occupations at the same time. And if you want to know what service before self is, talk to a reserve officer. Talk to a reserve petty officer. Airman, Marine—it doesn't matter. They make those personal sacrifices along the way." The commandant closed by toasting the captain. "Here is that first challenger that challenged the status quo. That has made us the best Coast Guard—and yes, we have the best Army, the best Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps… and we have the best Coast Guard on the face of the planet, because we have the best people. And it all begins with our guardian angel, Capt. Walter Handy. Walter, I thank you." Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft, Captain Walter Handy and wife Shirley Handy at his 100th birthday celebration held at the ROA building, March 19. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick Kelley RESERVIST MAGAZINE RETIREE SITREP Issue 2 • 2018 � RESERVIST 35

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