14 May, 2000
Women of the Healy
May 14, 2000: Mothers Day
Daily Data (20:30):
Air Temp. -6.71C 19.92F
True Wind Dir. 350deg
True Wind Speed 12 knots
(Note: The heading is the direction the bow of the ship is pointing at any instant expressed in degrees from 000 degrees through 360 degrees. Course is the intended direction of the ship and at a specified time may or may not coincide with the heading.)
USCGC Healy Facts: Science Systems
Labs and climate control chambers have deck sockets, Unistrut system, and clean electrical power.
science wet lab 390 sq ft
main science lab 1233 sq ft
science staging area (bay) 325 sq ft
science dry assembly area 153 sq ft
biological/chemical analysis lab 310 sq ft
science freezer 266 sq ft
science refrigerator 169 sq ft
climate control chambers 206 sq ft
electronics/computer lab 105 sq ft
photography lab 105 sq ft
future science lab 546 sq ft
meteorological lab 64 sq ft
Of the 75 Coast Guard permanent parties, 5 additional officers and 6 enlisted personnel, 7 are women. Seven out of eight-six. Additionally, there are 30 civilians on the Healy. I am the only female in this group. Total USCGC Healy population at this time is 116. Population demographics vary with each port of call.
Who are the women of the Healy? What drew them to their present occupations? What are their long-range plans? What do they have to say to young women who are preparing to enter the work force and launch their careers? With these questions in mind, I went to the women of the Healy. The following five discussions are shared with permission.
Jennifer Lowden enlisted in the Coast Guard when she was 24 having first heard about this service from her sister. From boot camp, Jennifer was sent to a 378-foot cutter of a population of 130 with only 16 being female. She was the only non-rated female in the engineering department.
On the Healy, Jennifer is a Machinery Technician Second Class, MK-2. Having discovered that she is talented in the job skills required of her, she is learning and loving it. What are her long-range plans? Jennifer has been in the Coast Guard for 7 years and is considering making it her career. Prior to enlisting, she had reached highest level in her work and with no challenges in sight, began looking for career growth possibilities. The Coast Guard offered her what she was looking for and Jennifer has not been disappointed.
What does Jennifer say about the Coast Guard? "It's hard work but the rewards are there," she tells me. Jennifer is excited about the international travel opportunities the Healy affords and says, "I'm getting paid to see the world!" Since being with the Coast Guard, Jennifer notes the many positive personal changes she has seen in herself. She carries herself with confidence, has a positive outlook on life, and is energetic and very, very happy.
What is Jennifer's message to young women? "Find yourself something to like to do and do it," Jennifer explains, "Even if it's in a man's world’ don't let it stop you."
Selinde Brock, Yeoman Chief, YN-C, became interested in the Coast Guard through her stepfather who was with this service from 1930-1945. Selinde began her Coast Guard connection in the reserve and later became active for now 24 years. She enlisted in 1976 and tells me that the Coast Guard only began accepting women into the service in 1974. At that time, the recruiting offices had a quota. Selinde says that in her area of the Coast Guard, there tends to be as many female yeomen as male. Selinde could have retired at 20 years, but is happy and is remaining in the service.
What is Selinde’s message? "You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Don't limit yourself. Measure your success against your standard; don't measure it against anyone else."
Dr. Barbara Schoen, Commander, specializing in emergency and trauma medicine, was in the navy reserves until Desert Storm at which time she became active. Because the Coast Guard resembles the navy and offers her the possibility of retirement, Barbara chose to enlist.
What are some of Barbara's responsibilities on the Healy? Along with Master Chief Caras, Barbara is responsible for the health and welfare of the Healy's active duty crew and passengers and a broad range of
shipboard observations including the monitoring of cleanliness (i.e. daily water quality checks, food services health safety monitoring, personnel heat and
hearing protection standards). Barbara parcticularly appreciates the fact that every day Coast Guard personnel complete their mission; that it is not a peacetime training service.
What does Dr. Barbara say about a career on a ship? "Being a woman on a ship is not easy, but it shouldn't dissuade one from following a marine career. It's not easy for anyone."
Laura Fowler, Boatswain Mate Third Class, BM-3, enlisted with the Coast Guard for non-traditional career experience. Stating that she's the only woman on the Healy in her rate, Laura says, "If I'd wanted to cook or be a secretary, I could have done it on the outside." She wanted something different when she got out of school and didn't want to go to college right away. Laura became interested in the Coast Guard through her girlfriend, but when her girlfriend dropped out, Laura enlisted anyway and has had no regrets.
Out of basic training, Laura went to a small boat station in 1990 for over five years in search and rescue off the Oregon coast. "It was exciting, thrilling, and rewarding," Laura says, but she was ready for a change. The possibility of the Healy surfaced and Laura transferred. She loves the opportunities it has given her including the added benefit of world travel. By the time her Healy tour is up, Laura will have ten years with the Coast Guard. She then hopes to return to a small boat station and make the Coast Guard her career until retirement.
What is Laura's message to young women? "Just because you’re told you can't do something because you're female, don't give up. Do what you want, what you feel is right."
Crystal Keeler, Fireman's Apprentice, F-A, began her enlisted career with the Coast Guard in January 2000. The Healy is her first assignment. Crystal became interested in the services through her parents and chose the Coast Guard because she wanted to be closer to the United States and defend her country on her own turf. She is parcticularly drawn to the fact that the Coast Guard is a smaller branch and more friendly and caring with a comfortable structure and atmosphere; what Crystal calls "family-oriented." "The Coast Guard takes care of you," Crystal clarifies.
Following the recommendations of her parents who suggested that she pursue a career that she could carry with her to the outside’ after she leaves the Coast Guard, Crystal chose to look at those types of options. As a Fireman's Apprentice, Crystal is learning about the machinery on the ship (main propulsion, auxiliary machinery, damage control) as well
as learning fireman's skills; the theory, the equipment an the strategies.
What are Crystal's long-range plans? During her time with the Coast Guard, Crystal hopes to move into law enforcement at a small boat station. Following that assignment, she would like to go to college for a degree in law enforcement.
What is Crystal's message to young women? "Go to school as much as possible. Finish school. Talk to people in careers and learn about what they do, how they got there, and what it took. If you don't want to learn, you don't know what you're missing. Go out and see the world, take care of yourself and learn things."
What have I observed in my discussions with the women of the Healy? They are talented, hard-working, dedicated, and positive people. They are happy in their careers and they love learning and new experiences. They're strong. Shipboard living is not easy and they have successfully made it their life. But then, all of this could be said of the men of the Healy, too.
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