Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the 23rd 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.

Chief Machinery Technician Devlon Johnson
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Sector Puget Sound Naval Engineering Department (Seattle)

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Q. Where is your hometown?
A. My hometown growing up was Sandy, Oregon. When I joined the service, I was living and working in Hammond, Oregon.

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
A. I have been in the Coast Guard for many years. I joined in May of 1988 and served on active duty for more than 8 years. Then, I joined the reserves, but did not drill for the first 2.5 years or so.

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. As a fisherman, I was very familiar with the Coast Guard. However, the reason I initially joined was because I could stay underway for my entire career. The Navy said I would only serve 2-3 years underway, and then I would have to serve at a land unit for 3-5 years. I said “no thank you” to the Navy. Incidentally, I left active duty when the Coast Guard put me ashore for several years.

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 10.58.15 AMQ. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. Yes, I have been deployed. I’ve been sent to Korea, Guantanamo Bay, Haiti and the Middle East in this order; 2005, 2006, 2007-2008, January – March 2010 and August 2010 – September 2011.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. In recent memory, I’ve been a team lead, crew lead, small boat engineer, boat crewman, range coach and trainer. In my current unit, I am the administrative assistant to the leading chief.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. Assist the leading chief as required.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. I have many scary and wonderful memories. While afloat on the Coast Guard Cutter Planetree, my first cutter in Alaska, we discovered many things about a buoy tender’s capabilities. We flooded the main space with progressive flooding. We put a hole in the main hold, stores, refer flats and a small hole or tear in the engine room. We kept afloat. We also discovered we could take a 52 degree roll and come back up. We were on our side for approximately 17 seconds. I was too young to be scared, so I ran to the engine room. EM3 Rainbolt and I started drying out the board so we could light the plant back off.

Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I am a building engineer. I work in the commercial building industry as an assistant chief engineer.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. I experience many Challenges, far too many to list here.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. It really depends on which part of the reserves you are in. The Port Security Units are very different from the rest of the service. The engineering and facilities units, if operating correctly, should be helping to make monstrous improvements for the active duty crews.

Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?
A. The Coast Guard, as a whole, has had a profound and positive effect on my children, my spouse, my parents and me.

 

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