Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the 27th 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.

Lieutenant Lee Northcutt
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Port Security Unit 313 (Everett, WA)

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Q. Where is your hometown?
A. Tacoma, Washington

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard? Any active duty or prior service?
A. I’m a prior active duty Marine and been in the Coast Guard since August 2005.

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I want to serve our country. I love the Coast Guard with a passion. We have a very special mission in protecting the public, our environment, and most importantly, our way of life.

FullSizeRender (25)Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. I deployed to Deepwater Horizon in New Orleans. Additionally, I deployed to South Korea multiple times with various units, often working with the Port Security Units as a liaison officer and as a linguist.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. I check that my shipmates are receiving the appropriate and required training and ensure they are cared for mentally, emotionally, physically and financially. I verify all qualifications, certifications and training requests are routed and entered into Direct Access and our training systems. I create memos, procedures and policies per our Commanding Officer that are related to our unit’s responsibilities. Lastly, I carry out command instructions and, when I’m able, I find time to work on my PSU qualifications to earn the PSU pin.

B787-5Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I am an Aviation Security Inspector for the Department of Homeland Security in Seattle, Washington, conducting inspections and investigations of aviation industries, airports and the public.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. As a reservist, I had an opportunity to travel to Shanghai, China to meet up with the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell. After a week in China, we were underway for two weeks, traveling from Shanghai to Korea and then to Japan. The mission was to patrol Pacific Ocean for driftnet fishers and we also conducted search and rescue exercises with the South Korean Coast Guard in the middle of the ocean. It was an amazing experience. Additionally, I participated in the Pacific North Coast Guard Forum multiple times, which was very rewarding.

IMG_7300Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. This would have been quite difficult without the support of my family, friends and my supervisor at work. My supervisor has been unbelievably supportive. While I’m away on a mission, my supervisor keeps in touch with my family, ensuring they are doing well until I return from my mission.

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. I’ve learned various leadership styles, including what it means to have a mission-oriented mentality, while ensuring my shipmates are taken care of. Even more importantly, I’ve learned about time management and completing the mission on schedule while handling multiple projects.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. I would like to think what I do matters and that my actions impact the service in a positive way. As a reservist, we are responsible for ensuring we are in an optimal readiness position. Regardless of what the situation is, when we get a call, we WILL respond. I have been hand selected multiple times to travel to overseas as liaison officer and as a linguist. I filled critical key positions during the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum. I have been the president of the Reserve Officers Association for the past five years, supporting our enlisted personnel for both the reserves and the active duty members.

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