Videos: Today's Military

Petty Officer 3rd Class Adrien Cheval: As a reservist assigned to a small boat station, I support primarily two missions, the first being search and rescue, and the second being maritime law enforcement. The execution of those missions involve getting underway on a small boat.

The Coast Guard is unique in the sense that the reservists actually work hand-in-hand with the active-duty counterparts, so we actually get to do the same mission. Like today, I'm the boat coxswain, and I'm also a boarding officer.

We have that benefit of being able to do the same mission, which really sets us apart. It's pretty nice because I can come in and drill two days a month and do this mission and then go home and do my civilian job during the week. So it's a really nice balance.

So typically out here on the Potomac, we'll go out and do recreational boater safety, which involves checking life jackets, fire extinguishers and other important statutes that pertain to boater safety. So right now, we're mission-ready for both search and rescue and maritime law enforcement.

As an individual, I really enjoy getting underway. The fact that I'm getting paid to drive a boat and to save lives and to also enforce federal law is a great privilege. The highlight of my career in the Coast Guard Reserve has been being able to obtain both the boat coxswain certification as well as the maritime law enforcement boarding officer certification. I'm able to basically choose the job that I want to do when I come in, whether I'm the designated boat coxswain or the designated boarding officer, to go out and execute a particular mission.

To pilot a very nice Coast Guard boat to do search and rescue and maritime law enforcement, the fact that I get to be a federal law enforcement officer certainly complements my civilian job. It gives me a different perspective on things.