California State Military Reserve Establishes Maritime Component
ALAMEDA, California, March 18, 2017 – The soldiers and airmen of the California State Military Reserve (CSMR) could be forgiven for not knowing naval protocol for reporting aboard an aircraft carrier. Well-accustomed to working in the field with the California National Guard at Camp Roberts in Central California or at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos near Los Angeles, most CSMR troops had never heard a 1MC announcement, nor had cause to request permission to come aboard a warship – especially not one with the storied history of the decommissioned USS Hornet (CV 12), now pierside in Alameda, CA. Not since World War II had California had an operational maritime component – yet with the official activation of the CSMR Maritime Support Command (MARSCOM) on Saturday, March 18th, the Golden State once again seemed “haze gray and underway.”
“The Adjutant General, Major General David S. Baldwin, really wanted to see this happen,” said Brigadier General (CA) Frank Emanuel, CSMR’s Commanding General. “The Adjutant General understands that many of our service members bring a wealth of maritime experience to the California Military Department. Some have served in federal maritime services or in civilian maritime professions – either way, we want to maximize the use of their experience and talents in support of the State.”
The Maritime Component mission is to provide a qualified and ready force to support the California Military Department’s defense support to civil authority and response to natural or manmade disasters. BG (CA) Emanuel’s vision for the Maritime Component is to maximize the capability within the Naval and Marine forces. Additionally, Maritime will both lead and support operations in California’s harbors and on its inland waterways by partnering with other organizations (e.g., Coast Guard Auxiliary, Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, CalTrans, etc.) to increase their capacities.
Units of the California State Military Reserve’s Maritime Support Command (MARSCOM) in formation on the hangar deck of decommissioned USS Hornet (CV 12) in advance of the command’s activation ceremony. Maritime, Army, and Air service members represent California in this joint command.
While MARSCOM is the operational command that focuses on support to federal, state, and municipal agencies with maritime connections to their missions, the California Maritime Regiment (CMAR) is the maritime service component. CSMR Soldiers and Airmen were offered the opportunity to switch service components to become Sailors, with or without transferring to MARSCOM. Since all CSMR units are joint commands, there is now a mix of Soldiers, Airmen, and Sailors serving in important roles throughout the organization.
Within its various units, MARSCOM is staffed by experienced sea service veterans, former Soldiers and Airmen, and even first-time military volunteers. Whether they are old salts who want to keep serving or new recruits who are joining a military organization for the first time, CMAR and MARSCOM have welcomed all volunteers. “I have a great deal of respect for all of our plankowners. It took personal courage to make the leap to Maritime and to help us build this new organization,” said Captain (CA) Michael Hanson, commander of MARSCOM. “I’m confident that their integrity, skill, and hard work will enable us to make many important contributions to the State of California in the years ahead.”
The more than 90 Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen of MARSCOM’s five operational units located throughout Northern and Southern California were well-represented aboard the decommissioned USS Hornet, and the historic warship buzzed with the energy of a formal unit commission ceremony. Sideboys rendered honors to the official party as the bosun’s pipe (played by a member of USS Hornet’s Vietnam-era crew) and the CSMR Band filled the ship’s hangar deck with the sounds that traditionally signify important naval events. MARSCOM’s official unit colors were unveiled for the first time and the first watch was officially set.
In a formal activation ceremony aboard decommissioned USS Hornet (CV 12), CSMR MARSCOM Senior Enlisted Advisors display the new command’s official colors for the first time.
“In almost 20 years of military service, this is the first time I’ve ever been a unit plankowner,” said Lieutenant (CA) Johan Lai, the commanding officer of MARSCOM’s North Harbor Detachment ONE and a veteran of both the Navy Reserve and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. “Now the real work continues for us: training, building our capabilities, developing our personnel. We’re part of a proud legacy of state military service, and we can’t rest on our laurels.”
With its complement of Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen participating in major state exercises, State Active Duty emergency activations, and ongoing operational missions with other units across the state, MARSCOM is already providing vital contributions to the CSMR, the California Military Department, and the State of California – and has done so with honor, courage, and commitment.
CSMR MARSCOM South Shore unit members share the stage with their commanding officer, CSMR’s commanding general, and MARSCOM’s commander aboard decommissioned USS Hornet (CV 12).