Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the seventh 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.

Chief Warrant Officer Paul C. Bostwick
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Coast Guard Base Seattle C4IT Department
(Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Information Technology)

Bostwick alone shot

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. Orange, California

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard? Any prior active duty service?
A. I’m been in the Coast Guard Reserve for 15 years. Before that, I was prior U.S. Army (active duty) and U.S. Army Reserve & National Guard from 1989-1996.

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I wanted to make a difference. The old recruiting slogan “Coast Guard – Jobs That Matter!” really resonated with me and I like being part of the solution to problems. Mentoring younger members is the most rewarding aspect of my reserve job. After 30+ years, in and out of the military, I have a lot of experiences to share with the up and coming reservists. It’s gratifying to help steer folks in the right directions and to assist them in making career choices/plans.

Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. Yes, I deployed to Kuwait/Iraq in 2004-2005 with Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron Two-Five. I deployed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response in Florida in 2010 and Louisiana in 2011.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. I am the reserve department head for C4IT at Base Seattle. I supervise two Chief Petty Officers and am also a collateral duty (additional responsibility) Education Services Officer and Victim’s Advocate for Sexual Assault Prevention/Response.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. There is no such thing as a typical day for me because no two days are ever the same. The one constant is that there is never enough time to accomplish all the tasks that come my way.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. Briefing Admiral Thad Allen during Deepwater Horizon is right up there along with being selected as Reserve Chief Warrant Officer of the Year.

Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I am the Supervisor for the Safety & Security Office at the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) facility in Laguna Niguel, CA. My office manages the Occupational Safety, National & Physical Security and Emergency Management & Telework programs affecting 1,500 federal employees and contractors. Additionally, we handle the Facility Security Coordination for the entire 1+ million square foot federal building, including more than 10 federal agencies.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. Balance isn’t difficult really. The true challenge is the fact that Coast Guard work demands about 60-80 hours of work each month, but only pays me for two days. My wife doesn’t understand why I do all this “free” work year after year, but I suspect that is a common theme among the reserve force.

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. I use my ICS (Incident Command System) training all of the time in my civilian career. In fact, I was a much more attractive candidate for my current position due in large part to my extensive ICS training and experience as a reservist.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. I know that my personal deployability and willingness to mobilize adds to the Coast Guard’s effectiveness in surging forces and ability to respond to a crisis/incident. Having been mobilized in both wartime and for domestic responses has shown me first hand how my skill set augments an already stretched-thin service in meeting its operational demands.

Q. Anything else you’d like for us to know/include?
A. I travel 1500 miles each month to drill. In 15 years, the shortest commute I’ve had is 130 miles each way. At one point, I flew back and forth from Southern California to Boston for four years to drill. This is not common, but it is far from unheard of in our reserve community. I wish the Coast Guard would recognize this sacrifice so many of us make routinely and address it as a long-term issue.

Bostwick 3rd from left small

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