I was born and raised in Southern California in the 1980s. My brothers, sister, and I were fortunate to spend most of our childhood outdoors. We grew up near the beaches of Malibu and Ventura County, which inspired my love of the ocean. I was always into sports and was recruited to play golf in college. That eventually led me to the East Coast, where I transferred to College of the Holy Cross, my dad’s and grandfather’s alma mater.
Holy Cross did not have a women’s golf team, and I was looking for another activity or experience that would challenge me. Growing up, I was captivated by my father’s recollections of his days in the Coast Guard, how defining his time in the service had been. Many an evening he would break out his slide projector and walk us through his missions to the Arctic and Antarctic and his participation in the first Operation Deep Freeze in the mid-1950s on board the USCGC Eastwind (WAGB-279). He brought to life the important work of the Coast Guard—how different it was from the other services and how it never really gained the recognition it deserved.
So, I was intrigued with the Coast Guard from an early age—and, candidly, I wanted to have a car at school and needed a way to pay for it. I investigated my options and ended up enlisting in the Coast Guard Reserve through the RK program for college students. My dad was a bit “dismayed” (okay, maybe upset) when he found out I had enlisted in the middle of college, but my intention was to pursue Officer Candidate School on graduation. It all worked out well for me in that I went through boot camp between my sophomore and junior years, then drilled in Boston on weekends. The following summer I attended A School in Yorktown, Virginia, and then back to Boston for drill weekends. I left the service as a third-class petty officer after four years in the Reserve.
Over the years, it has been amazing how often the Coast Guard, Holy Cross, and the Naval Institute seemed to intersect! My father was an Institute member, so I was familiar with Proceedings. He was pleased when he learned a fellow Holy Cross alumnus, Vice Admiral Pete Daly, would be leading the organization. In 2012, when my dad was being honored by the U.S. Navy Memorial with the Lone Sailor Award, we met up with Pete in Washington, D.C., and spent an enjoyable time reminiscing on our two favorite subjects: sea service and Holy Cross.
Holy Cross is a Jesuit-run institution that prides itself on scholarly debate, critical thinking, and the practice of discernment. These values are very much in line with the essence of the Naval Institute and Proceedings. My family admires the independent forum and the Institute’s efforts to advance the seagoing services that are so critical to our nation’s advancement as a free society and to the safety and security we as citizens expect.
For the past several years, I have been a member in my own right. I must admit, each month when Proceedings arrives, I flip first to any Coast Guard–themed articles and then make my way back to the other content. I am always impressed with our enlisted ranks—the level of responsibility and keen sense of shared problem-solving. The service has changed so much since my time in the early 1990s. I continue to renew my membership because the Naval Institute enables me to stay informed on the evolving landscape.
In appreciation of all the Naval Institute accomplishes, my family sponsored the Coast Guard flagpole at the new Jack C. Taylor Conference Center in our father’s memory. In addition, our sponsorship of the Coast Guard Essay Contest is one way we can continue to support the service’s important history and ever-increasing relevance as a complex and extremely resourceful seagoing service. (I share my dad’s belief that the Coast Guard continues to be somewhat under-recognized.) We are grateful for the opportunities the Naval Institute affords to highlight the amazing talent of the Coast Guard’s workforce.