This is why I serve in our Coast Guard. We don’t say it’s too hard, we don’t say we’re too tired, we don’t say we can’t, we don’t say no. We say “AYE-AYE!” Even when we’re fatigued, battered or challenged, we find a way to get to “AYE-AYE!” We understand and will comply.
Why I serve? A question every volunteer has to answer, and one that every Auxiliarist should reflect upon for the inspiration, enthusiasm and commitment they promised to their country and nation. I think there are fewer opportunities to serve and support our country in the maritime environment than volunteering with the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
As a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Response Team’s direct action section, I have a unique opportunity to be a part of extremely impactful operations. I recently returned from a deployment to the United States Central Command’s area of responsibility in support of counter-piracy operations and was able to experience the massive role and influence the U.S. Coast Guard has in this theater.
When the ombudsman position became available I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted to help the command connect with the families, to create a family atmosphere with everyone and I wanted to be involved in a bigger way. I didn’t want another family going through the same things we did when we first arrived and when we got hit with a natural disaster.
For me, the question is not why I serve, but why I still serve. I am close to completing my 33rd year of federal service, 21 years on active duty in the Air Force and the remainder as a civilian legal assistance attorney with the Coast Guard. Friends ask when I plan to retire, and my answer boils down to this: “Not anytime soon.”
As a conservation biologist, I work for the preservation and conservation of natural resources. As a reserve marine science technician, I get to extend my work from the terrestrial side to the ocean side. Living in Hawai’i the ocean is a part of our daily lives and is valued by the people who live there. Being a member of the Coast Guard Reserve allows a seamless blend of my two jobs.
In honor of our service’s birthday, we reached out to Coast Guard men and women and asked them to write an essay based on the prompt “Why I Serve.” Our second entry is written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jose Gutierrez. Gutierrez is an aviation maintenance technician at Air Station Atlantic City. As an aviation maitenance technician, he inspects, services, maintains, troubleshoots and repairsaircraft engines, auxiliary power units, propellers, rotor systems, power train systems and associated airframe and systems-specific electrical components.
The Coast Guard celebrates 223 years of service to the nation this Sunday and is an opportunity to reflect upon the men and women who serve in America’s Coast Guard. In honor of our service’s birthday, we reached out to Coast Guard men and women and asked them to write an essay based the prompt “Why I serve.”
Today we celebrate the moment our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence; the birth of our nation. Generations of Americans have served our nation since, safeguarding the liberties our founding fathers fought to give us. In honor of Independence Day, we asked a Coast Guardsman what it means to serve.