Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the fourth 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.


Yeoman, Second Class Marinna (Mina) M. Orta

U.S. Coast Guard Reserve

Marine Safety Unit Portland, Oregon

 YN2 Orta aboard the USS Champion, traveling into the Port   of Portland from Astoria, Oregon (June 2015)

Q. Where is your hometown?

A. My hometown is in Portland Oregon, located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.


Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?

A. I have been enlisted for a little more than years, with many more to come! I enlisted as a reservist with no prior military service. Everything that I know I have learned as a reservist!


Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?

A. I joined the Coast Guard because I believe in national service, and the Coast Guard seemed like it would be the best fit for me. It certainly has proven to be and that’s a major reason why I’ve chosen to stay in for the long run. There are numerous factors that keep me motivated, one of them being excellent leadership. There are so many phenomenal leaders to look up to in the Coast Guard, that it’s hard to NOT be motivated!


Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?

A. I have not yet been deployed, but I am ready to go at a moment’s notice when that time comes. I look forward to the day my country calls upon me to serve.


Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?

A. While on duty in the Admin Department, I assist my fellow service members with all sorts of questions ranging from entitlements, retirement options, pay and travel orders. I don’t always have an immediate answer to a complex question a member asks, but that’s what helps keep me challenged and motivates to learn more.


Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?

A. A typical day consists of being a problem solver and a source of information to anyone who walks into the office. Often, the assistance requested is related to pay or a member having a question about orders, but the answer is rarely the same. It definitely keeps me on my toes!


Buddy Aid training, instructed by MLES Nelson Del Valle at  Camp Rilea in Warrenton, Oregon (June 2015)Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?

A. The most memorable experience was when I served with Sector Columbia River’s Boarding Team for the majority of 2015. I received training in defensive tactics, maritime law, use of force and other aspects I had never experienced. I was even pepper sprayed, which was pretty awful, but the support from my shipmates helped me push through it. I don’t know any other Yeoman who has experienced all of that, so I felt really proud of myself! Additionally, during the team’s ADT (two weeks of active duty for training) in June 2015, we were operational for the Rose Festival’s Fleet Week and rode into port on Navy vessels, scanned the Willamette River for possible weapons of mass destruction and performed boardings. It was the most challenging, exciting and memorable experience I’ve had in the Coast Guard, and I’m incredibly grateful for it.


After swearing in with Gladstone Police as a reserve  officer, with full time police officer, friend, and fellow Coast Guard  Reserve member ME1 Lee Gilliam. (Sept 2015)Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?

A. I currently am in the middle of the five month Reserve Police Officer Academy program located in Portland, Oregon, which keeps me incredibly busy… and tired, too. I also work part time in a restaurant, which allows me the flexibility to focus on my law enforcement career path.


Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?

A. There are many challenges to finding the balance for everything, and it takes serious focus and time management. You have to prioritize and not get behind, because there is much more work to be completed than the time allotted on one weekend a month. There’s studying for the RSWE (Reserve Servicewide Exam), yearly employee reviews, mandated training, planning, job training and much more. If you stay on top of it, things will be just fine and you’ll see some very positive outcomes.


Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?

A. Definitely! The Coast Guard is very focused on its members being accountable and holding us to a very high standard, which has helped me grow both individually and professionally. Employers really notice when you have the Coast Guard on your resume because it shows that you are reliable, hard working and a team player.


MKCM Dan Jensen YN2 Orta and Captain Patrick Ropp after   pinning for E-5 at MSU Portland Oregon (Jan2016) 2Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?

A. I believe it has a very positive impact. We assist the active duty members and we fill in when and wherever we are needed. It’s our job to be ready and at a moment’s notice!


Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?

A. It is an honor to be a part of the Coast Guard Reserves and I look forward to many more years of opportunities, challenges and learning experiences.

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