Coast Guard Reserve celebrates 80 years

Graphic courtesy of the National Coast Guard Museum Association

Admiral Karl L. Schultz, Commandant of the Coast Guard sent out a happy 80th birthday to the men and women of the Coast Guard Reserve.

The demands put on our Coast Guard Reserve are as complex and diverse today as they have ever been at any point in our storied history. As we mark the 80th anniversary of the establishment of the Coast Guard Reserve, we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic in which our Reserve Forces demonstrated remarkable agility, by rapidly evaluating, adapting, training, and responding when called.

Together, we have risen above challenges with a strong sense of professionalism and purpose. As always, the steadfast Devotion to Duty displayed by our reservists demonstrates unrelenting commitment to respond at a moment’s notice to the Nation’s call.

Over the past year, hundreds of reservists rapidly responded to the needs of our Nation, from the pandemic to natural disasters to continued Department of Defense support in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Closer to home, reservists seized the opportunity to support the needs of their active duty shipmates as part of the Coast Guard’s Parental Leave Program, thereby preventing critical gaps in day-to-day Coast Guard operations.

To increase relevance with the priorities and preferences of the current workforce, the Coast Guard Reserve undertook new initiatives to attract and retain members being released from Active Duty. Qualified members who transfer from the active component to the Selected Reserve are now provided a one-year deployment deferment, providing each the opportunity to remain actively affiliated with no risk of immediate, involuntary deployment. This period of stabilization allows new reservists transitioning from Active Duty to maintain operational readiness while they work to establish themselves in new civilian careers.

Further, the reserve component adopted a Flexible PAL (FlexPAL), providing agility in the assignment process, to reduce members’ commuting distances and create a more geographically stable workforce.

These initiatives and others, coupled with stalwart leadership at all levels of our reserve components have put the building blocks in place to restore the reserve component to authorized end strength of 7,000.

Looking to the horizon we see a continued and likely expanded need for a robust Coast Guard Reserve to support the Nation. As the Department of Homeland Security’s only military reserve component, the Coast Guard Reserve has proven its value many times over, and will continue to do so into the future. Driven
by exceptional professionalism, a strong bias for action, and unwavering devotion to duty, the Coast Guard Reserve stands tall and remains ready to respond to disasters and threats domestically and abroad, as well as augment Coast Guard front line operations and mission support functions when and where circumstances demand.

On behalf of every member of the Coast Guard, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve George Williamson and I extend our warmest regards and gratitude to every reservist, past and present, for your selfless and patriotic service.

Bravo Zulu, and Semper Paratus.

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