Coast Guard Reserve: 74 years of reliable response



By Rear Adm. James Heinz, Director of Reserve and Military Personnel

One of the world’s most famous war-time leaders, Winston Churchill once noted, “In battles two things are usually required of the commander-in-chief: to make a good plan for his army and, secondly, to keep a strong reserve.” Since its creation by Adm. Russell Waesche, the 8th commandant of the Coast Guard, Feb. 19, 1941, the Coast Guard Reserve has time and again proven itself to be that strong reserve capability to which Churchill referred.

The Coast Guard Reserve, one of the seven reserve components of the armed forces, is organized, trained, administered, and supplied under the direction of the Commandant. As Director of the Reserve, I take great pride in recognizing the 74 years of steadfast and exemplary service the men and women of the Coast Guard Reserve have given our nation.

Since its inception the Coast Guard Reserve has always been the Coast Guard’s force multiplier. In fact, during World War II over 90% of the 214,000 members serving in the Coast Guard were reservist. And, while the Reserve force is significantly smaller today, it has repeatedly proven its ability to quickly and effectively respond as the Coast Guard’s ‘force in garrison’.

Today’s Coast Guard Reserve personnel train and work alongside their active counterparts where they attain and hone their skills by supporting and augmenting the Coast Guard’s day-to-day operations. The skills and relationships developed locally have proven invaluable to our Service’s ability to lead, manage and coordinate the national response to acts of terrorism, disasters or other domestic contingencies, both large and small. In addition, reservists assigned to our eight Port Security Units have been integral to Coast Guard’s ability to provide valuable expeditionary support to the Department of Defense.

Along with Coast Guard Reserve Force Master Chief Eric Johnson, I wish to personally thank each reservist, past and present, for their unwavering devotion to duty and commitment to the Reserve Component’s tenets of “Patriotism, Professionalism and Preparedness.” It is their commitment to serve which has made the United States Coast Guard Reserve the valuable element to our Nation it is today.

Bravo Zulu and Happy 74th Birthday to the United States Coast Guard Reserve.


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