Meet Your Coast Guard Reserve

This is the fifteenth 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 Anthony (Tony) Slowik
U.S. Coast Guard Reserve
Port Security Unit 313 (Everett, WA)

Oak Harbor, Wash., native named 2014 Coast Guard Reserve Warrant Officer of the Year

Q. Where is your hometown?
A. I live in Oak Harbor, WA with my wife (Gina) and two daughters (Trinity and Marina).

Q. How long have you been in the Coast Guard?
A. I have been in the Coast Guard for 19 years. I enlisted in 1996 and spent my first six years on active duty serving at Coast Guard Station Neah Bay, on the Coast Guard Cutter Storis and at Naval Engineering Support Unit Seattle. After active duty, I transferred to the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) for two years, which provided me an opportunity to focus on my military-to-civilian life transition. I transferred to the Select Reserves in 2004, where I have served ever since.

Q. Why did you join the Coast Guard? Why do you stay/what keeps you motivated?
A. I joined the military as a way to see different places and meet new people. I visited military recruiters from all of the branches and the Coast Guard was the only service that wouldn’t guarantee me a Rate or MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). I was excited to know that everyone had to work up through the ranks and no one person would get a special advantage over another. Everyone mess cooked, scraped paint and cleaned bilges. The time I spent as a Seaman provided me with the opportunity for self-reflection and allowed me to choose the rate that I wanted to service. I chose the electrician’s mate rate. I have remained in the Coast Guard because the Coast Guard’s values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty are my values. I enjoy serving my country and working with a group of outstanding men and women for a common purpose.

Oak Harbor, Wash., native named 2014 Coast Guard Reserve Warrant Officer of the YearQ. Have you been deployed since joining the reserves? If so, where and when?
A. I deployed to Korea with Port Security Unit 313 for a three-week training mission in 2013 and I am currently deployed with Port Security Unit 313.

Q. What are some of your responsibilities while on duty?
A. In 2013, I served as the units only electrician’s mate. I provided electrical and mechanical support; keeping the unit’s boats, communication equipment and expeditionary base camp equipment operational. During my current deployment, I am the unit’s engineering officer, which is the department head for the engineering and weapons divisions. I report directly to the unit’s commanding officer and am responsible for the operational readiness of division personnel, port security boats, weapons, communications equipment and facilities.

Q. What do you do on a typical duty day?
A. I arrive at work by 0730 and meet with my two division chiefs, discussing any operational changes to personnel and equipment from the previous day. We review upcoming work items and support they need to execute the unit’s mission. I brief the unit commanding officer on the unit’s equipment status and the week’s work schedule. I work with fellow department heads, division officers/chiefs throughout the day to execute the unit’s mission.

Q. What’s your most memorable experience since joining the Coast Guard?
A. I have had some very memorable experiences. Being advanced to the rank of chief petty officer and having my wife’s grandfather, retired Navy Boatswain’s Mate Senior Chief Douglas Miller, participate in my advancement ceremony was particularly memorable. I was also very honored to be selected as the Coast Guard’s 2014 Reserve Chief Warrant Officer of the Year and Reserve Officer Association’s 2015 Most Outstanding Warrant Officer.

Q. What is your occupation outside of the Coast Guard? Where?
A. I am a 12-year veteran of the Oak Harbor Police Department in Washington State, where I serve as a Patrol Officer.

Q. How do you balance Coast Guard and civilian life? Any challenges?
A. The balance between civilian life and military life is very challenging. Thankfully, I am married to an amazing woman who keeps me centered and is very understanding. The key element is communication with your family and employer.

Q. Are there any skills you’ve learned through the Coast Guard that you apply to your civilian career and vice versa?
A. Yes, I was introduced to law enforcement through the Coast Guard at my first two duty stations while performing fisheries patrols. The law enforcement experience helped me in my civilian police career. My rate as an electrician’s mate helped me secure a job as an electrical designer at a shipyard when I transitioned off active duty.

Q. How does being in the reserves impact the service as a whole?
A. Reservists expand the specialty knowledge available to the active duty Coast Guard. Many of our reservists do not perform the same job in their civilian careers that they do in their reserve careers. This allows reservists to come to the table with a fresh set of eyes and different social and life perspectives. All of these things enhance the Coast Guard’s effectiveness and make us more agile in response to world needs.

Oak Harbor, Wash., native named 2014 Coast Guard Reserve Warrant Officer of the Year

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