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C Active Duty Spotlight


apt. Melissa Bert, USCG, chief of the Maritime and International Law Divi- sion, has had a variety of operational and legal tours during her 26-year career serving as a shipdriver, captain of the port, and judge advocate. She also created the Coast Guard Women’s Leadership Initiative through the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association. Today, at Coast Guard head- quarters in Washington, D.C., she and her staff provide legal advice on operations and programs, both foreign and domestic. Is- sues include fisheries, drug interdiction, search and rescue, counterterrorism, piracy, environmental pro- tection, shipping regulation, oil spill response, and more. As head of the U.S. govern-


ment’s delegation to the Inter- national Maritime Organization’s Legal Committee, Bert works directly with other nations’ gov- ernments. There are more than 45 international agreements on maritime issues just with Western- hemisphere nations.


Do you miss being at sea? I had great tours aboard cutters. My first boss was then-Lt. Cmdr. [Robert] Papp, [com- manding officer] of USCGC Pawpaw. He is now our commandant, and I’m where I’m supposed to be, too. My current posi- tion is fantastic — we touch on every mis- sion of the Coast Guard. Do you travel to other countries? Yes. I [recently] went to El Salvador and Colombia. I’m always amazed at how much we have in common with the people we work with around the world. Why did you start the Coast Guard Women’s Leadership Initiative? It’s a concern of mine that


women don’t stay to become senior


Coast Guard leaders. We’ve started a campaign to help the next generation


of women succeed — connecting cadets, junior officers, and civilians with women leaders and role models. We support mentoring programs and leadership conferences, hold professional develop- ment events, and are building an endow- ment to fund these efforts.


— Marilyn Pribus Attention! Check out these military-related entertainment offerings.


FILM GOLD STAR CHIL- DREN: TWO GENERA- TIONS SHARING LOSS AND HEALING (2014) Director Mitty Griffis Mirrer shows the redemptive power of sharing in this film that follows the parallel journeys of two genera- tions of grieving children:


those who lost parents in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bos- nia and adult children of parents lost in Vietnam.


BOOK LIFE AFTER THE MILITARY: A HAND- BOOK FOR TRANSI- TIONING VETERANS (Rowman & Littlefield,


30 MILITARY OFFICER MARCH 2014


2013) Authors Janelle Hill, Don Philpott, and Cheryl Lawhorne collect and present in this manual all the information needed for veterans to settle into life after the military.


BOOK DIVIDEDWE FALL (Scholastic, 2014) A


second, fictitious Ameri- can civil war breaks out when policing duty at a protest goes catastrophi- cally wrong for a group of National Guard soldiers. Author and former soldier Trent Reedy explores that horrific aftermath in this young adult novel. MO


PHOTO: STEVE BARRETT


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