Richard Kocher is a 2000 graduate of Norwich University, and is now in the Coast Guard Reserve.
"After I graduated from Norwich University, I joined the Coast Guard Reserves. I spent one weekend a month serving the Coast Guard, while holding a full-time job at Fidelity Investments pricing mutual funds at the Boston World Trade Center. Then September 11, 2001, happened, and a lot of the people I spoke to everyday for pricing in New York didn’t make it out. It motivated me to seek active duty with the Coast Guard where I spent four years full time, but now I am back in the reserves as an intelligence officer.
One of the great things about the Coast Guard is that our missions really vary. From environmental protection to homeland security to search and rescue, we provide security and safety for America’s coasts and seas. I’ve boarded liquid natural gas carriers, and supply vessels that were loading munitions for the Iraq War, for example. The Coast Guard works to protect our nation's ports, shipping lanes and coasts both from an economic standpoint and to enforce laws which safeguard sensitive marine habitats, mammals, and endangered species.
Safeguarding Nature through the Coast Guard's mission of Marine Environmental Protection is a high priority. In fact, I did a lot of work during the BP Oil Spill to help mitigate the oil pollution. I was the Branch Director for the Coast Guard in Bay County, Florida, where I provided Federal oversight over BP to make sure they were correctly performing their oil pollution prevention and response duties. My team and I monitored their activities and responded to the public’s interest in what was happening. It really reinforced for me the importance of the environment, and the pride in working for an organization that protects nature and our country.
I’ll be running the Marine Corps Marathon for Team Nature on October 28, 2012, to help raise money for The Nature Conservancy – an organization I feel was front-and-center during the BP Oil Spill. In many ways, we shared many of the same objectives in being proper environmental stewarts protecting the ocean for the common good."
The views expressed above are those of the individual, and do not constitute an official policy statement of the Coast Guard.