Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the 28th 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.

Machinery Technician Third Class Justin Torres
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Coast Guard Station Bellingham (Washington)

Torres 2

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. My hometown is Buckley, Washington. It is at the base of Mount Rainier.

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard? Prior active duty?
A. Three years as a reservist. No active duty.

Torres 1Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I joined the Coast Guard when I was 23 because I wanted to be in the military. I wanted to go to basic training and do something that not everyone gets to do. What keeps me motivated is how much fun I have at each monthly drill.

Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. No, no deployments yet but I am looking forward to the opportunity to deploy.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. We do regular patrols around the San Juan Islands, which are mostly safety boardings. We also perform quite a few search and rescues cases.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. I show up and get dressed in my uniform. Then, we do our boat checks and typically go out on patrol. There is almost always something related to training, whether we are underway or finishing mandatory computer training.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. I would say helping some civilians off a rock into which they had run their boat. The tide was moving pretty fast, making it difficult for us to approach their vessel. The rescue was similar to something you might see in the movies.

Torres 3Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. Recently, I was hired as a full time firefighter and EMT. Before that, I was an EMT, working for a private ambulance company.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. Actually, it’s actually pretty easy. Sometimes, it can be rough giving up your weekend, but it is worth it.

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. I have learned a lot from being in the Coast Guard. Mostly, I’ve learned about being comfortable around boats and how to navigate waters.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. I believe the reserves have a huge impact on the readiness of the service for any sort of response, whether it is a large-scale event, such as a natural disaster, or terrorism. Or, we’ve experienced large-scale, man-made emergencies with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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