Seventy-five years ago, the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve was established by the passage of the Coast Guard Reserve and Auxiliary Act of Feb. 19, 1941. To honor and celebrate the Coast Guard Reserve's birthday, Joint Task Force Guantanamo's Maritime Security Detachment Port Security Unit 313 conducted Reveille at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Headquarters building. The celebration was followed by a birthday cake cutting ceremony at the at Gold Hill Galley.
There have been few opportunities for many Coast Guard Reserve members to celebrate the day they were established. This was an exciting and rare treat for members of the Coast Guard Reserve, as they do not often get to celebrate these events together.
“I've been in a long time,” said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Joel J. Burkhardt, the weapons division chief with MARSECDET. “Believe it or not this is the first time I have ever seen a cake for the reserve's birthday.”
The Coast Guard Reserve was modeled after the Naval Reserve and has two service classifications: Regular reservists and temporary reservists.
According to Coast Guard Cmdr. James R. Hotchkiss, the MARSECDET commander, during World War II, regular reservists served on active duty and temporary reservists were volunteers and former auxiliary members who served for coastal patrols and port security work.
This birthday is a celebration of when the Coast Guard Reserve ramped up for World War II, said Hotchkiss. About a quarter of a million personnel served in the Coast Guard during the war and about 90 percent of them were reservists.
“It is good that we commemorate (and) remember our past,” said Hotchkiss.
Every military service holds birthday celebrations, however, being the smallest branch of the Armed Forces, the Coast Guard does not usually have enough members in one place to celebrate events like this, said Hotchkiss.
The Coast Guard is here to provide maritime security for the detention center, detainees and the personnel working on NAVSTA.
The Reserve is essential to the Coast Guard, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan R. Poppink, a waterside security division lead petty officer with the MARSECDET. The Coast Guard has a broad range of jobs and without the support of reservists; they would not be able to accomplish the mission tasked to them.
The Coast Guard Reserve has conducted many missions along the coastlines of the U.S. and its territories to include overseas missions.
Its Reserve components have been extremely active globally over the last 15 years, said Hotchkiss. The Coast Guard Reserve served in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Sicily. They were in New York during 9/11, New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, as well as the flooding of the Mississippi River in 2011 and in 2016.
Burkhardt thanked everyone for coming out to support the celebration, “75 years and still going strong.”
PSU 313 is responsible for maritime security for the JTF detention center and the personnel working on NAVSTA.
By U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan L. Twist
Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
Provided through DVIDS
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