3 USCG reservists called up

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2001

When Wesley Jansen mustered out of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1999, he never expected to be called "seaman" again.

On Sunday, however, Jansen and two other Juneau reservists will be reinstated in active Coast Guard duty and will receive specialized training in Kodiak. On Oct. 22, they'll report for duty at Valdez, the terminus of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline and an important port.

Jansen, 24, has been called up because his training in search and rescue and law enforcement is considered valuable in the current terrorism crisis.

Jansen is now a case of life interrupted a scenario repeated all over America in ways both major and minor in the wake of Sept. 11. He and his fiancee, Kirsta Hansen, have a new daughter, Kaitlyn, born Sept. 22. On Aug. 1, Jansen began a new job with the city's animal control office.

"He has been a great worker," said Wayne Lyons, director of animal control. "We had a lot of hope for him and are sorry to lose him, but we understand the circumstances and support him. Naturally we gave him a couple of days off before he goes, to be with his new child."

Hearing that he would be reinstated was a shock, said Jansen, a four-year resident of Juneau. "I was in active reserve and out almost two-and-a-half years. I didn't expect the Coast Guard to be calling me."

He expects to be on active duty for up to a year. "My family will be staying here and will occasionally be able to visit," he said.

"The only thing that bothers me is leaving the family. Otherwise, this is my contribution (to the war against terrorism), and it's something I am willing to do," Jansen said.

Jansen is one of three Juneau reservists being summoned to active duty.

"We have recalled people to help augment our increased security awareness - which means more patrols and more people on duty," said Petty Officer Chris Grisafe of the Coast Guard's public affairs office.

Patrols will cover vulnerable targets such as ice-free ports, oil tankers and the pipeline. The other two men, Matthew Wright and Todd Grant, served with the rank of petty officer.

"All will do patrols in support of the current situation," said Lt. Mary Ann Gosling, reservist coordinator with the 17th District's planning and resources staff.

Wright and Jansen will be part of the law enforcement-boarding team, while Grant will be part of the boat operation team. All will earn leave and be able to take leave - anywhere inside the United States, she said.

Wright has been working at Johnson Youth Center for about a year as a counselor, said JYC Superintendent Greg Roth.

"We have mixed feelings (about his being called to active duty)," Roth said. "There is a certain sense of loss of not having Matt work for us for a while - perhaps for an extended period. That is unfortunate for us and the kids. But we also support strengthening of the community, and, in that sense, he is going on to do that. We are very proud of him."

Grant, 29, has worked as a Microsoft-certified engineer for the accounting firm of Elgee, Rehfeld and Funk for two-and-a-half months. He's one of three people who started a new technical services and computer consulting division for the firm.

"They've been behind me 100 percent. They said, 'It's God and country. Go for it,' " Grant said.

On the other hand, Grant said, he is leaving a 4-year-old son behind and communication with him might be difficult.

With "hardly any notice, it's hard to get your life in order to be able to disappear for a year - your personal life and your work life. And there's Coast Guard training that needs to be brought up to speed. But everything is coming together," he said on Monday.

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