Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the twentieth post of a month-long question and answer series, introducing members of the Coast Guard’s Pacific Northwest Reserve Force and recognizing their contributions to our country and community.

Commander Gennaro Ruocco
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Sector Puget Sound (Seattle)

Ruocco 1

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. East Haven, Connecticut.

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
A. I graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1994. I completed six years of active service and transitioned to the Reserve in 2000. I was recalled to active duty after 9/11 and served another three years of active duty. Finally, I recently completed a nine-month deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with Port Security Unity (PSU) 312.

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I went to the Coast Guard Academy for the outstanding education, the opportunity to compete in inter-collegiate sports and a desire to serve my county. I am continually impressed and motivated by the amazing personnel who serve in both the enlisted and officer ranks of the Coast Guard, both active and reserve

Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. I have been activated twice. I was recalled after 9/11 and served another three years of active duty. More recently, I deployed as the deputy commander of the Maritime Security Detachment in support of Joint Task Force operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. I am currently the Senior Reserve Officer at Sector Puget Sound. I support and advocate for reserve matters at the Sector. I work closely with both Sector active duty leadership as well as District 13 reserve leadership to ensure reservists are meeting requirements of employment and are actively engaged in training and augmenting Sector active duty operations. Furthermore, I work to ensure reservist training and administrative needs are addressed and met in a timely fashion.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. On a daily basis, most of my time is spent working remotely to address any pressing reserve matters. While drilling, I work closely with active duty staff and drilling reservists to augment Sector operational matters, as well as to address any reserve matters. Drills may be administrative, operational or for training purposes, and are to ensure overall efficiency and effectiveness of the reserve program at the Sector.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. The recent nine-month deployment stands out due to the fact that it was nine months away from my family. Also, I was able to observe firsthand the personal and professional growth of many enlisted personnel and officers during that deployment.

Ruocco 2Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I am a police officer for the City of San Bruno, California.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. It is difficult, but being part of the Coast Guard Reserve is very rewarding. It is challenging being away from the unit for a month or two between drills and can be tough to remain as engaged in my reserve role as I would like. Remote access makes it somewhat easier, but the lack of human interaction makes things more complicated at times.

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A: I was a boarding officer with the Coast Guard before I became a police officer, and the training I received in the Coast Guard was very helpful with understanding the role of a law enforcement officer. In law enforcement, you deal with people during very difficult times in their lives. The ability to work with people during these challenging times has helped me deal with tough times in my Coast Guard career.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. I’d like to think I am playing my small role in the larger operation of the service. I enjoy building and improving upon my Coast Guard skill set with the hope of taking on jobs of increasing responsibility. I hope to positively impact the lives and careers of the Coast Guardsmen with whom I work.

Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?
A. I am honored and humbled daily by the opportunity to serve our country in the U.S. Coast Guard.

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