Videos: Today's Military

Nathanael Kruse: I'd say I was an outdoorsy kid. I love just going out and exploring, seeing things from a different point of view. It kind of challenges myself to be the most prepared that I can be to take on the challenges of my job.

When the events of September 11 happened, I knew I wanted to serve and do something in the capacity to be able to help my fellow Americans.

I joined up, and I think it's been the best decision I made.

I went through multiple recruiters, and when I stopped in with the Coast Guard, how they laid it out, it was their core values.

Honor, respect, devotion to duty. They laid out the missions they did. It just, it resonated with me. I felt it was more personal. I was here at home, protecting the home front, helping preventing drugs from going on the street, helping boaters be safe, so that if an emergency happened, they had the proper knowledge and equipment to be able to deal with that situation.

Of course I was nervous. But I just felt that you had to conquer that because you have to be able to overcome that fear of the unknown in order to realize the best version of yourself.

I'm a Maritime Enforcement Specialist. On board this vessel, I maintain all the gunnery equipment on board, so that is the 50 caliber machine guns, the 25-millimeter up forward, the small arms, I give training on that to all our boarding personnel.

Okay, so we're gonna go for loading and unloading procedures right now. So if you want to be the wheel person, I will grab the rounds, and Walsh, if you want to watch what I'm doing.

Another one of my jobs is being a law enforcement instructor, and that requires me to teach people proper techniques and procedures for doing a multitude of tasks, from handcuffing a subject to using physical techniques to protecting themselves, to properly just interacting with the public in a positive way. We have different techniques that we use in order to be able to enforce the federal laws and regulations that the Coast Guard enforces, and a lot of those are going to be for officer safety, for our own safety and the safety of the people that we're dealing with day to day.

Speaker 1: What I like about Petty Officer Kruse is that he is very enthusiastic. He loves what he does, and he gets me very pumped up and motivated.

Nathanael Kruse: When I think about one of my shipmates out there that I live on board with, spend weeks at a time with, you know, talk, joke about, and the last thing I want to do is for them to get hurt because of a misstep in the training that I gave, so that's why I try to give as much attention to detail as possible.

Speaker 2: He's definitely an asset to the crew. I think that he has a very special role based on how active this unit is in law enforcement. He has no choice but to step up, and to make it happen, especially with the things he's dealing with, and he does it day in and day out, generally with a smile on his face, so that makes my job a lot easier.

Nathanael Kruse: There was one time where we had to go out and save a craft that was coming up and there was 242 people on board. That was the first time where I really saved someone's life because we had people that were plunging themselves in the water, they were jumping overboard, and it was pitch-black out. The wind's picking up, going out there, being able to just give any type of assistance, helping them get off their boat, get on to on our vessel to find them the food, water they so desperately needed.

It felt fulfilling. It felt good. I felt good being able to help someone that was in a dire situation. It showed me that I made the right decision, and I was glad that I made all the decisions that made me come to the Coast Guard. Everything that led up to that.