Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the sixth 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.

Public Affairs Specialist, Second Class Ayla Kelley
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
District 13 External Affairs (Seattle)

PA2 Ayla Kelley 20160201_1013562

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. Utica, OH

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard? Prior AD, prior service?
A. 10 and a half years, four of those are on active duty.

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I joined the Coast Guard because I admired the missions and I would have the opportunity to be a photographer. I stay in for the same reasons, as well as the network of professional friends I have made.

PA2 Ayla Kelley 20151008_1148312Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. Yes, 60 days for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. I was located in Robert, New Orleans and Grand Isle, all in Louisiana.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. Responding to media inquiries, covering events as a photographer and writing stories for the Coast Guard blog and magazines.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. Lots of writing and photography, which is great.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. I photographed President Bush fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. One news outlet used the photo.

Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I’m a Communications Specialist for the Kent School District in Washington State.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. My civilian job is very supportive. I try to blend weekend drills with a weekday drill, to ensure I am working in close collaboration with the active duty crew.

PA2 Ayla Kelley 20150902_1813512Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. Because they are so alike, I use nearly all of the skills I gained in the Coast Guard in my school district role; primarily writing and photography.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. We are there when our country and service needs us. Much of my time in the reserves has been to support larger incidents and events.

Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?
A. I also enjoy all the travel I get to do in my Coast Guard job. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the majority of our nation’s shorelines.

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