Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the ninth 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 Williams
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Sector Puget Sound (Seattle)

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Q. Where is your hometown?

A. Portland, Oregon

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
A. 24 years as of June 2016, all in the Coast Guard Reserve

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. Between my junior and senior years in college, I joined the Coast Guard Reserve as part of the RK (reserve entry) program – boot camp one summer and then “A” School the following summer. I always wanted to serve in the military and grew up seeing the Coast Guard in action when I visited my grandparents on the Oregon Coast. I stay motivated by knowing I am part of a great organization that values service to our communities and the nation.

Q. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. Yes, I deployed to Kuwait from April 2005 to January 2006 with NCWRON33 (Naval Coastal Warfare Squadron 33). Following 9/11, I was mobilized and served at (then) MSO Portland, Oregon. I was also mobilized for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and served at the National Incident Command in Washington, D.C.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. Essentially, leadership and management of all reservists assigned to the Response Department at Sector Puget Sound. I am responsible for helping our senior leaders set divisional goals and achieve mobilization readiness for all assigned members. I also spend considerable time helping to develop leadership and technical competencies in our junior officer corps and preparing them for increased leadership responsibilities in the Coast Guard Reserve.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. Are there any typical duty days? My days mostly involve administrative duties, but the leadership component of my duty varies day-to-day.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. When I returned from our deployment to Kuwait in 2006, we arrived in San Diego. I was filled with pride having represented the nation and Coast Guard while performing duties in Kuwait. I think we recruited several members from other services during our deployment by highlighting the nature of our work in the Coast Guard Reserve and the responsibilities entrusted to our members.

Williams 2 croppedQ. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. Police Captain in the City of Beaverton, Oregon

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. It is always challenging balancing Coast Guard and civilian life. I try to find those opportunities where both careers are complementary – and often they are. There is definitely some give and take, depending on what is happening in each career at a given time.

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. The focus on Incident Command System (ICS) training in the Coast Guard Reserve definitely benefited my civilian career. I serve as a member of the Beaverton Incident Management Team (IMT). The exercises and experiences as part of the IMT keep the skills I use in the Coast Guard Reserve fresh. The leadership opportunities in both roles are complementary – the idea of looking out for and developing others is the same in both environments.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. Reserve members bring diversity of experience and skill to the service as a whole. During mobilizations, I think reservists rise to the occasion and seamlessly work side by side with their active duty counterparts. The reserve program provides the service with flexibility and an ability to quickly meet the needs of the nation in dynamic environments, unlike many other organizations.

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