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Public Information Officers
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Featured Profile for Public Affairs and Media Relations Officer

Rodney Rios

I knew in the Coast Guard I would be presented with many opportunities to positively influence people of all ages and backgrounds.

I grew up in southern New Jersey, and had a habit of sneaking into my father’s closet, trying on his “B” jacket and combo cover, and pretending I was an Air Force pilot. Pretending, however, is something little boys do, and as I grew older, I yearned for the real thing.

Eventually, I chose the Coast Guard not only to have the chance to be a pilot, but because of its humanitarian mission. I wanted to be part of an organization where I could ascend into a position of leadership, make a difference in people’s lives and be a role model within my community.

Hard work, support from my family and dedication to superior performance were the key factors that enabled me to stay on path. In addition to completing flight school, I also wanted to complete Officer Candidate School (OCS) and become an officer. As an officer and a pilot, I felt I was in a position to set an example for junior personnel and help them achieve their maximum potential. Taking the long route, I graduated from both flight school and OCS more than seven years after first entering the Coast Guard in 1994.

As an officer and a leader, I have the ability to influence not only junior servicemembers, but senior as well. My fellow servicemembers often look to me for guidance and advice. I embrace the role, and believe that taking care of people and showing a genuine interest in their needs is the most critical key to their success and the success of a service unit.

My intentions are to continue to further my education and to seek a postgraduate degree prior to retiring. Education has helped me to excel. And now that I am qualified in the HH-65C helicopter as an aircraft commander – and have already obtained an associate degree – I can focus on completing a bachelor’s in management.

Tuition assistance (TA) has lessened the financial burden of paying for college. Today, I promote the TA programs to younger members in my unit; some of them have gone on to earn advanced degrees. For me, it is more about personal satisfaction than monetary compensation.

From school lectures to airshow demonstrations to training younger personnel in the avionics field, I am committed to reaching out and having a positive impact on those around me.

The ability to change someone’s outlook on life, his or her education or simply his or her aspirations is what inspires me the most. Couple that with the fact that I am performing my current job as Group Atlantic City Public Affairs Officer – promoting the Coast Guard, dealing with the media and endorsing recreational boating safety – within 20 miles of my hometown, and life doesn’t get any better or more rewarding for me.

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