Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the fifth 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 Jeffrey L. Engel
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
District 13 Planning and Force Readiness Division (Seattle)


Q. Where is your hometown?
A. I was born and raised in Stewartville, Minnesota, a small town of approximately 5,000 people. I grew up with a sense of service, seeing my father as a 20+ year volunteer firefighter and my grandfather as the town’s Police Chief and Fire Chief for many years.

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
A. After high school graduation, I attended college for two years. Wanting to serve, I enlisted in 1983. 32 years later, I am still serving! I left active duty as an E-6 (petty officer, first class) to join the reserves and was immediately selected to attend ROCI (Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination), where I received my commission.

Q. What made you want to join the Coast Guard?
A. I grew up on lakes and enjoy the water. That coupled with a friend’s advice to join after he did excited me!

Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves?
A. I was activated/deployed in 2003 to start the Vessel Boarding and Search Team in Seattle to support Operation Enduring Freedom, in 2005 for Hurricane Katrina response as a Situation Unit Leader and in 2008 to serve as the Operations Officer at Maritime Security Detachment Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while drilling?
A. I reported to District 13 this past October to fill the role as the Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO) and work directly with FEMA Region X in Bothell and Washington and Oregon State Emergency Operation Centers during exercises and disasters.

Q. What does a typical drill day look like?
A. I am always sharpening my incident command skills and knowledge by completing online courses, taking formal courses and participating in exercises. I also visit FEMA and other response agencies regularly to develop relationships in advance of disasters.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. I have always thought that the Coast Guard attracts the best people in America! I enjoyed being part of several thousand search and rescue cases while serving on six different cutters, as well as drug seizures and fishery enforcement.

CDR Engel BikeQ. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard?
A. I am the Deputy Police Chief for the City of Sumner, Washington.

Q. What challenges do you face while balancing Coast Guard and civilian life?
A. Between the Coast Guard and police work, I have missed many holidays, birthdays, and special events. I am blessed to have an understanding family who fully supports my service. I couldn’t have done all of this without them!

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian job and vice versa?
A. Yes, plenty! I became interested in law enforcement while serving in the Coast Guard, as well as incident command, boating safety and leadership. Both of my careers complement each other perfectly!

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. Most of the reserves have been activated to support many operations in many roles, some numerous times. This allows each reservist to contribute to national security and maintains our active duty counterparts in their assigned billets to continue operations.

CDR Engel Halloween

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