Coastie says she wants to give Coast Guard ‘perspective’ and see it more ‘inclusive’ after graduating from Coast Guard Academy – Reuters
Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.
July 26—Anne Allman, of Grand Haven, recently graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn., and was recently named an official Coastie.
Allman, 23, went to Spring Lake High School and grew up sailing at the Spring Lake Yacht Club. After graduating from high school in 2016, she first went to Michigan State University before starting Coast Guard Academy.
Recently, Allman sat down with the Grand Haven Tribune to talk about her experiences and her goals for the future.
What was the Coast Guard program like?
Even though I went to two years of college at MSU and then had my revelation to go to the Coast Guard Academy, I had to start their 200 week program. It’s a four-year program, during the summers too. Summers are all military training. Last summer I was in Bahrain for the summer on a fast response cutter, an FRC we call it. They are 154 foot patrol boats and I was also on a 110, which is another patrol boat. We go to training at Camp Lejune for five weeks to go overseas, which is a marine base, and we learn to make 50 caliber machine guns, M4s, we shoot pistols… we go to a gas chamber and we get gassed. We fit into these M50 gas masks and then spend a few days learning how to use them. And then, as a practical test, we are put in a gas chamber. We have to clean our masks, be able to breathe, take off masks, filters, all that. So we are training for overseas. It was one of the cool summers I’ve had, it was last summer.
What made you decide to apply to the Coast Guard Academy?
I went to the state of Michigan. I was at James Madison College and I studied social relations and politics there. At the time, I just thought I was trying to make an impact on America through politics and working for Congress when I graduated. … I grew up, my father was in the police force and I knew that I wanted to help the community. “How?” was a good question. And then, of course, being from Grand Haven, which is the number one Coast Guard city in the United States, I knew the Coast Guard, my dad had worked alongside the Coast Guard and I was like, ‘OK, I think I want to be in the Coast Guard. So I started doing my own research on the options. There’s the academy, which is quite prestigious and I didn’t think I’d get into it… but afterwards I applied just to see. I also applied to BMI because I knew I wanted to be in the Coast Guard and wanted to try to be in the military somehow. … The service itself is more humanitarian compared to other branches. You help people a lot. You are here to help more than other missions.
With government over military, it’s a different focus for me, and it’s something I’m more passionate about because it’s law enforcement. Since I was a cadet at the academy, I applied for this advanced research project with the US Africa Command and got it. So I studied Africa and maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea. I was able to go to Rome, Italy for the African Chiefs of Defense Conference and then to Stuttgart, Germany for training and education at Africa Command. That’s all the government work, international relations and studies, that I could have done at MSU too, but the opportunities of being in the military itself and having the agency to do that are really cool.
What have you learned from these experiences abroad?
I learned a lot about it, but I think what had more value was how the United States works with other countries, not even NATO countries, but countries in Africa and countries that are on the continent, but are not really part of Africa. … Everything comes from a good relationship. You don’t really learn that in college if you don’t have an opportunity like this. … I was the only Coast Guard cadet to go to Rome, so it was just me who could learn and bring back the knowledge and how we put ourselves in situations with other countries to the people of the academy.
How did your father being in law enforcement influence you as a child?
He was a sergeant in the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. Growing up and seeing him, I wanted to be a sheriff, I wanted to do that. The stories of him being able to help people. He was also part of the maritime patrol, so he worked a lot with the Coast Guard station. I got to ride Grand Haven’s 47 motor lifeboats. It definitely sparked my love for water, law enforcement and government.
My mother is also involved in law enforcement. She is the 911 dispatcher for Ottawa County. So I get all sides of law enforcement.
How does it feel to be the first person in your family to join a military branch?
My father is very proud, my mother is very proud. I will say, when I said I was going to the military academy, she said to me, “What are you talking about? The military?” And then, especially when I’ve been to the Persian Gulf, she’s like, “You told me you were in the Coast Guard. And I’m like, ‘Well, the Coast Guard also does international stuff.” Few people really understand.
Now that you’re a Coast Guard officer, how do you lead others?
Perspective is my leadership philosophy, basically. We need different perspectives – we can’t all think the same way or you’re never going to progress, you’re never going to have a breakthrough if you all think the same way. If you have 10 different minds it will be so much more efficient, it will be so much more progressive in the world, inclusive.
Many people think that the military is very exclusive – fraternity or fraternity. It’s true, you understand each other, but I think we’re also moving away, especially in the Coast Guard, to have more perspective and to be more inclusive, which I think is very good, especially as a woman . Our class was made up of 40% women. It was the largest graduating class in history, which is quite impressive considering women weren’t allowed to join the academy roughly 50 years ago now.
Where are you parked now?
I’m stationed on the Coast Guard Cutter Maple in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. It’s on the Emerald Isle Outer Bank. It’s a 225 foot Coast Guard cutter. So if you ever come here for the Coast Guard Festival, the hollyhock will come, and it’s the same type of boat as me. It’s big enough. I will be stationed there for two years. Obviously, I love Grand Haven, so I’ll be visiting often, probably all my time off.
What are you going to do on the cutter?
I’ll be a deck watch officer. I manage a group of enlisted personnel in this unit, and then I’ll – in simple terms – drive the boat and make sure it’s running smoothly. We have a multi-mission platform, so we do law enforcement, we do maritime stewardship stuff, and we pay attention to the environment. So if there was someone fishing illegally, we would board their boat and check their papers, make sure everything was fine. Otherwise, it’s on the side of law enforcement. We could do drug busts, migrant bans and fishing. We do a lot of aids to navigation, which means watching the buoys and making sure the channels and all the equipment is operational for the merchant navy vessels. If there is a country that does not have this capability, we go to that country and also take care of its buoys. We are the ones who will go on international patrols on the East Coast, which is why I was really interested in being in international relations. My ship last year went to Greenland in the Arctic region.
What do you expect in North Carolina outside of your job?
I love the beach and they have great beaches there. I’ve been there and one thing I love about North Carolina is their sweet tea. … I also want to join outside community stuff, like a beach volleyball league or a softball team, something that will get me out of the Coast Guard as well. I want to get involved in the community. I walked past a pantry. I used to volunteer at a food pantry in Connecticut and I loved (it).
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