A World War II recruiting poster for SPARs, the Women’s Reserve branch of the U.S. Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard image.

The Long Blue Line: SPARs – female trailblazers of the Coast Guard

By the end of World War II, nearly 12,000 SPARs had served in the Coast Guard. They pioneered the role of their gender in the service, the federal government and the nation as a whole. They have since helped shape the Coast Guard into a better institution for all men and women and continue to do so today.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Angel Valles-Bravo works on fellow

Onto the next challenge: Coast Guard recruit Dr. Angel Valles-Bravo

Dr. Angel Valles-Bravo traveled from Cuba to Venezuela and provided treatment for those who couldn’t afford access to medical care. Here’s his story.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jonathan LaKose trains recruits at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, N.J., Jan. 2, 2018. LaKose, 45, is the oldest of the company commanders at Cape may and use uses his life experiences to mentor his recruits. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Brahm.

Company commander corps rounded out by reservists

The recruits at the Coast Guard’s Training Center in Cape May, New Jersey, spend a lot of time trying to blend in with their shipmates. They may not recognize that two of their company commanders are reservists blending in with their active duty shipmates.

Participants of a 10-day joint military bilateral exercise, Gema Bhakti 17 (GB17) take a group photo during the event in Jakarta, Indonesia, September 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Unity in Diversity: Coast Guard lends support to bilateral exercise in Indonesia

Bhinneka tunggal ika, the Indonesian national motto, means “unity in diversity.” This theme resonated with two reservists from Coast Guard Reserve Unit Pacific Command (USPACOM) who traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, in September 2017. Capt. Joanna Hiigel and Cmdr. John Mower traveled halfway around the world to support the 10-day joint military bilateral exercise, Gema Bhakti 17 (GB17). This was the fifth exercise of its kind held between the U.S. and Indonesia’s military, Tentara National Indonesia. It was designed to enhance collaboration and skill in planning a response to a regional crisis, with an emphasis on maritime security.

Coast Guard reservists pause for a photo at Station Apra Harbor in Guam. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur.

Guam’s Guardians: How reservists make the difference

Guam may be where America’s day begins, but at Station Apra Harbor in Santa Rita, Guam, reservists are known to be busy day and night. The Coast Guard Reserve has a long history of serving the people of the Pacific and continues to play a critical role in the local community.

Massachuesetts House of Representatives David Vieira, Camp Edwards Garrison Commander Col. Patrick Keefe, Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Bonham, Massachusetts Air National Guard Brig. Gen. James LeFavor and Lt. Cmdr. Jesse Webster pose for a photo after the 2017 Annual Cape Cod Military Support Foundation Award in Cape Cod, Mass., Nov. 4, 2017. Bonham was presented with an award plaque, official citation, monetary award and a copy of the formal program for her diligence in representing the Coast Guard's core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Charlie Fields.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: SK1 Jessica Bonham

The Cape Cod Military Support Foundation Inc. and the Otis Civilian Advisory Council hosted the 2017 Annual Military Awards Banquet where junior members for each agency were recognized for their outstanding contribution to Joint Base Cape Cod. This year, Port Security 301 nominated Petty Officer 1st Class Jessica Bonham for her outstanding service to the JBCC community and the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve forces.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Lt. j.g. Joann Elizalde

Lt.j.g. Joann Elizalde, a reservist at Marine Safety Unit Chicago and a forester in her civilian career, heard a distress call of a man who had overturned his canoe in the cold waters of a Wisconsin lake while on a patrol of a forest. Elizalde took action to call for help and stayed with the man, giving him a glimmer of hope for survival.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Enlisted Persons of the Year

The Enlisted Person of the Year program recognizes exemplary men and women from the active and reserve enlisted workforce who reflect the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. Seaman Gregory W. Jacquet is recognized as the 2016 Enlisted Person of the Year – Active Duty Component – and Petty Officer 1st Class Nicole K. Cimino is recognized as the 2016 Enlisted Person of the Year – Reserve Component.

Protecting America: Port Security Unit 305 departs for 9-month deployment

Coast Guard Port Security Unit 305 recently departed Norfolk, Virginia, for a regularly scheduled, nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Throughout their deployment, PSU 305 will maintain a continuous maritime antiterrorism-force protection presence in the Naval Defensive Sea Area of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, directly supporting the commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay Naval reservation and adjoining waters, creating a layered defensive posture.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: CWO Anthony Slowik

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: CWO Anthony Slowik

“Chief Warrant Officer Slowik has been the calm in the storm and the voice of reason when planning major operational evolutions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Monica Hernandez, force readiness officer at PSU 313. “He has definitely become a subject matter expert on all things engineering related and takes initiative to become knowledgeable in everything he possibly can.”

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