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Administrative Support Specialists

Featured Profile for Administrative Support Specialist
Administrative Support Specialist—Erika Waggoner

Erika Waggoner

I grew up in California. My father was in the Marines and almost everyone in my extended family was in the Marines, so I had a lot of exposure to the military. But I didn't choose a military career right away. I went to San Diego State University for a degree in Computer Science. At that time, I also met my husband. He was in the Army in Special Operations. We were married, had our first child, and moved to Seattle where I spent ten years.

My husband had a tour of duty in Iraq and was injured. When he was discharged, I decided that it was my turn to join the military. I had been to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina once and was really impressed by a Coast Guard search and rescue mission that I was able to witness. I also love the ocean, so the Coast Guard was a great choice for me.

I joined the Coast Guard in 2004 and had to get an age waiver because I was over the age of 27. I was the oldest person in my boot camp in Cape May, New Jersey. I spent eight weeks there learning seamanship, Coast Guard procedures, and Coast Guard history.

My first duty station was at Air Station Corpus Christi. I had been scheduled to work as an Aviation Survival Technician (AST) and rescue swimmer. However, I became pregnant and my duties changed. I worked instead in the operations center which is the main base for search and rescue missions. This turned out to be a great assignment. I helped the operations specialists prepare search and rescue plans. When someone was in trouble, we would analyze the maps and plan the mission before sending out helicopters and planes.

After two years in Texas, I moved to the Washington, D.C. area. I work with the Coast Guard recruiting command now. I have a lot of job responsibilities related to ensuring that Coast Guard personnel get their assignments and are paid on time. For example, when members go on temporary duty assignments, I process their contracts, tell them where they are going, arrange a mode of travel, and estimate their pay. I keep track of all of these orders for the senior management. I also interact directly with Coast Guard personnel and help resolve problems related to their paychecks. In addition, I conduct training sessions to teach members how to use our electronic personnel forms.

This is a great field for me now as I hope to build my own human resources business one day. I'm taking classes to earn a second college degree in Human Resource Management. The Coast Guard has not only encouraged me to continue my education, but also provided me with real-life management skills. I have learned how to prioritize my work and how to deal with people in sometimes difficult situations. Most importantly, the Coast Guard has taught me discipline. This discipline enables me to manage my work life, home life, and school life effectively.

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