Episode 96: Featuring (Part I) US Coast Guard Sector San Diego, and (Part II) USD's Amanda Etter & Jhonnatan Chinchilla

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US Coast Guard Sector San Diego - Lieutenant Junior Grade Zach Farrell, Avionics Electrical Technician 2nd Class Bartholomew Valle, and Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class Lyman Dickinson with Derek Abbey - Guest Host of Rise Up Radio filling in for James Carmody & Jennifer Krewalk - Exec. Director & Producer of Rise Up Radio

United States Coast Guard Sector San Diego is the headquarters for San Diego’s Coast Guard Team. Lieutenant Junior Grade Zach Farrell, Avionics Electrical Technician 2nd Class Bartholomew Valle, and Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class Lyman Dickinson, crew members of the MH60 Rescue Helicopter team, joined Rise Up Radio’s guest host Derek Abby to discuss the Sector San Diego’s participation in the Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery.

All three men were a part of the Hurricane Harvey rescue and recovery effort in August that devastated areas in the Houston Texas area. Dickinson, a rescue swimmer, deploys out of the helicopter on the hook, as well as serves as a medical technician. Dickinson, Farrell and Valle discuss how their day to day training and the lessons learned during Hurricane Katrina all played a big part in the quick response and effectiveness of the Coast Guard during and after Harvey hit.

Farrell tells Abby, “All those lessons we learned (from Katrina) went right into effect that first day, so everything got off super-fast, we were super effective those first three days and I think we cleaned up a lot of the disaster really fast because of that.”

One average the Coast Guard can be airborne within 30 minutes of getting a call to come in and according to the men, they got the news about Hurricane Harvey at 9 a.m., got the call to deploy at 9:25, showed up to work by 10:00 and flew out at 11:30 a.m. They headed out to Texas in the H60 and found themselves having to fly directly into the hurricane. The first task was to fly into Houston and get the staging area ready, but they ended up being diverted when a call about a pregnant woman being stranded on her rooftop came in.

They also talk about the other Coast Guard crews from as far away as Sitka, Alaska who arrived in Texas to help with the hurricane rescues and clean up, and how there were actually many of the CG members who are stationed in Houston ended up being victims of Harvey and being unable to get out of their homes to report for duty.

The conversation also unpacks the day-to-day operations, trainings and the vast areas covered by US Coast Guard - Sector San Diego.

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University of San Diego, Veteran Student Services Coordinator - Amanda Etter & Associated Students Finance Chair - Jhonnatan Chinchilla with Derek Abbey - Guest Host of Rise Up Radio filling in for James Carmody & Jennifer Krewalk - Exec. Director & Producer of Rise Up Radio

Veterans Student Services Coordinator for University of San Diego Amanda Etter and senior student veteran at USD Johnny Chinchilla, joined Rise Up Radio guest host, Derrek Abby, to unpack the veteran and military programs available at USD. Chinchilla and Etter also talk about the recent USD Founders Gala event that was held on Veterans Day and the Military Transition Conference coming up in February.

Etter, who oversees the military and veteran program at USD, explains to Abby, “The military connected student population has grown 30% in the past two years. Working with military connected students on campus, the University is still very young at that. We’re the youngest of the top 100 schools across the country. We’re still kind of getting to grow, we have a lot of growth going on right now. It’s a really big time and we’re a change maker campus. So it’s a good time for us to highlight our military students.” The Founders Gala raised almost $1.3 million for all across campus students and over $500,000 for a new specific endowed scholarship for veteran students, according to Etter.

Chinchilla, who is one of the students highlighted at the Founders Gala did four combat deployments during his 12 year service in the Marine Corps. He is the Finance Chair for the student government and manages the $1.2 million in student activity fees. He is also President of the Student Veteran Organization at USD. When asked about why he chose USD he tells Abby, “It was the small classroom setting coming from the military and being use to a small unit leadership, I want to get to know my professors, I want to know who my classmates are, at USD you could do that, you’re not a number you’re student, you’re Johnny, you get to go in office hours with your professors, if you don’t understand the material you just wait there until you get it, they are there helping you every step of the way.” He added, “Having that support and that guidance from the faculty and staff is really amazing, everyone around campus knows who you are. That’s really a good feeling, it reminds me of being in the military.”

USD has 760 military connected students, that include active duty, veterans, dependent children, spouses and students who are active duty pursuing an ROTC, according to Etter. She talks about how University of San Diego’s focus is not simply on the veterans, but all of the students at the University who are military connected. She and Chinchilla stress that they want veterans to know enrolling in USD is attainable and affordable thanks to the numerous scholarships, the GI Bill, etc.