By Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.
Chief Petty Officer Barry Hollenbeck had just reported to Coast Guard Sector New York in the summer of 2010 to serve as a team leader in the safety and security operations branch when the call came in. Hollenbeck was to report to Hopedale, La., in support of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill response to lead the decontamination assessment team at the Hopedale Incident Command Post. Hollenbeck had not even had a chance to unpack from his family’s recent move from Virginia, and he left his wife, Sine, and their two children in a sea of boxes to answer the call.
“That’s just what you do in the Coast Guard,” said Hollenbeck. “When the call comes in, it’s time to go to work no matter the mission and no matter the place.”
For the next two months, Hollenbeck was responsible for inspecting vessels released from the oil spill response to ensure they were not contaminated with residual oil. He travelled throughout the region inspecting vessels that had been involved in the cleanup efforts at piers, on trailers, in backyards and at dry docks crawling through cramped engineering spaces in debilitating heat and humidity. Often times, he would work 80-hour weeks just to keep up with mission demands.
It was Hollenbeck’s experience during Deepwater Horizon that was the inspiration for his cadence entitled “In the Coast Guard.” Hollenbeck, now a company commander at Training Center Cape May, N.J., developed a unique “Jody” that divides a company of recruits into a mezzo-soprano section for females and a baritone section for males. While difficult for a marching company to learn and execute, the contrasting voice types between men and women result in a catching and rhythmic cadence.
While Hollenbeck wanted to create a cadence to improve his recruits’ morale and educate them on Coast Guard missions, his Jody call has a more important lesson for the future Coast Guardsmen.
“No matter what rate you are or what you do in the Coast Guard, your day never really ends,” says Hollenbeck. “We’re always standing by, and when our Nation calls for help, you have to flip on the switch and answer the call.”
Each year Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, the service’s only enlisted basic training facility, solicits original marching cadences from across the service. The Cadence Contest helps develop original Jody calls that educate and motivate the future of America’s Coast Guard.
“The Coast Guard Cadence Contest allows servicemembers from across the Coast Guard to educate our recruits,” said Capt. Todd Prestidge, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. “Everything we do here is aimed at educating and preparing future Coast Guardsmen for the rigors of service, and that includes when they call cadence.”
The Coast Guard will release the Top 5 Cadences throughout the week of Sept. 23, and the public will be given the opportunity to vote on their favorite cadence by “liking” it on Facebook and YouTube. The Top Coast Guard Cadence of 2013 will be announced the week of Oct. 14.
Behind every cadence, there’s a story, and each story is aimed at preparing future Coast Guardsmen. “In the Coast Guard” educates recruits about a few of the many missions of the Coast Guard, but most importantly, it prepares them to be ready to answer the call for help “no matter the mission and no matter the place.”
Training Center Cape May is proud to present “In the Coast Guard:”