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 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.
Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jose Gutierrez.
As a child growing up on a tropical island in the Caribbean I was always fascinated with aviation, the ocean and helping others. I remember as a child going to the beach and staring at the sky, wishing one day for the opportunity to fly over the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea as my job. My childhood exposure to the sea and listening to islanders tell their stories of distress at sea made me really fall in love with the idea of saving people’s lives. Being a Coast Guardsman allows me to be the person who can help them get home in the middle of the storm while fulfilling my child dreams of flying over the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea.
As I grew to an age of making a career decision, I was introduced to the U.S. Coast Guard through a Discovery Channel documentary about Coast Guard aviators and their missions, and I knew immediately: “That’s what I want to do for a living.”
In 1998, I decided to join the Coast Guard with a mindset of becoming a search and rescue aviator and performing a job that I consider to be the best profession that fits my personality, interest and values. Growing up in the tropics exposed me to an array of stories and personal experiences when it comes to migrants losing their lives attempting to come to the United States to better their lives for their families.
Being part of the premiere life saving service in the world and assisting mariners at sea throughout my career has given me a tremendous level of pride and satisfaction, as well as providing me with great tools to teach my daughters about helping others when in need, all while serving your country. As a married man and a father of two teenage girls, the Coast Guard has given my family a sense of pride, values and tradition that directly reflects our lifestyle.
I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do what I do for a living and show my family and friends the honor, respect and devotion to duty that working for the Coast Guard has taught me throughout my military career. My eldest daughter is a sophomore Honor Society member in high school planning to follow my footsteps and become one of the few female Hispanic aviators in the service and continue with the tradition of helping people while simultaneously serving our country.
So, why do I serve? I am extremely proud to answer: It brings me a tremendous level of satisfaction and honor to assist people in distress at sea and provide them a safe haven while in the middle of the ocean, while knowing that if I perish in the line of duty, my wife and daughters will be taken care of by the Coast Guard family like they have shown me in the past.
If you liked this essay, don’t forget to check out the rest of the “Why I Serve” essays.