Story and photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Heather Knolhoff
Reservist Magazine #1-2015 • Around the Reserve
All around the Coast Guard, reservists struggle to maintain their certifications in accordance with policy. This is even more challenging in the 9th District, where most boat operations are suspended from October through March. Station Buffalo is a prime example of this reality.
Senior Chief Craig Allain took command of Coast Guard Station Buffalo in the summer of 2013 and my assignment as Senior Enlisted Reserve Advisor followed in October. Allain and I sat down and identified some shortfalls in the Reserve program. Through transfers, attrition, and several changes in policy and boat platforms, much of the Reserve crew had either fallen behind or not appropriately trained in their competencies.
While mobilization and medical readiness had not suffered, operational readiness had.
We worked with each member of the crew to better align their skills with their billets. Active duty and Reserve members continue to work together to bring the reservists up to speed and help them regain their competencies. Over the course of the year, we went from a crew with only 20% of the members certified to a crew with over 80% of the members holding their required certifications.
Through the hard work and determination of every member involved, we transformed the Reserve component of Station Buffalo from a willing crew to a ready crew. The Coast Guard Reserve is a program that needs constant and active attention from senior enlisted leaders to ensure efficient operation.