Saturday, July 13, 2024

Ten Questions with Captain Scott Rae, USCG Training Center Commander

Captain Rae (photo: USCG Yorktown)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — “Ten Questions with” is a series that allows readers to get to know local business leaders, volunteers and community members in the Historic Triangle.

This week, meet Captain Scott Rae.

What is your job title and description?

I am the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown, the largest training center the U.S. Coast Guard operates. As the Commanding Officer, I am responsible for ensuring the command mission is carried out in a safe, efficient, and effective manner. In addition, I am responsible for representing the Coast Guard in the local community. I also provide and deliver support services to other Coast Guard units operating at Yorktown.

Who do you interact/work with regularly?

My daily interactions include the staff closest to me (the Front Office Group or FOG). This includes the Executive Officer, Director of Training, Executive Assistant, Command Planner, Staff Judge Advocate, Public Affairs Officer, and the Chaplain.

In addition, I will have periodic interactions with the Division and Branch level staff, and because I live on base my day will create interaction opportunities with many of over 600 students on base.

I also regularly work with the National Park Service, Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, and the USO.

How do you/your organization interact with the local community?

One of my primary responsibilities (beside running the Training Center) is to develop relationships outside the walls of the Training Center and to be present at various community events to ensure the U.S. Coast Guard has the right and collaborative connections to the community we serve.

One of the key ways I do that is to attend regular Chamber of Commerce meetings, in addition, I am a liaison to the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce. I have found this to be so important; it has already connected me with key relationships and partners in the community.

We also are a HUGE supporter of the youth in the community — we regularly host youth from all over the state of Virginia, exposing them to the Coast Guard, creating an opportunity in their mind that the Coast Guard is a wonderful career choice that can and should be a first choice of employment.

We regularly support the community with our band, color guard, marching groups, and guest speaking. This keeps us busy, but we find it very rewarding and part of our obligation to the community we live and work in.

What is something about your job most people wouldn’t know about?

It’s the BEST job in the Coast Guard! There is no greater honor than to be a Commanding Officer in the Coast Guard, whether of a shore unit or a cutter at sea. I have had the opportunity to do both. As a Commanding Officer, being ultimately responsible for everything that occurs every day, my role is stressful and very time consuming but, there is the lighter side of my job. It’s the opportunity to change lives, to inspire the young men and women we train every day. The opportunity to inspire them, mentor them, and encourage them to be the very best.

How do you define success?

I am ultimately responsible for 1,400 people on any given day. I define success as everyone working in a collaborative environment, sharing ideas, thoughts, and information. The collaborative environment is one of respect, cohesiveness, and mutual understanding/appreciation of each one’s diverse background. Ultimately, the success comes when each and every single member of the team is able to be the best version of themselves, where they feel safe and appreciated.

What is your most successful accomplishment to date?

I enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1990 as an E1 and attended boot camp at Cape May New Jersey. Over the past 34 years I have worked my way up to and through E6, attended Officer Candidate School, and attained the rank of Captain (O6). That journey was a difficult one — it required many sacrifices and is not attained by many. I am proud to be a “mustang,” a service member who rose from the ranks of the enlisted workforce and became an officer.

How long have you lived/worked in the Historic Triangle?

My wife (Mary) and I moved to the historic triangle in June of 2023, beginning a new assignment at Training Center Yorktown.

Our previous tour was in Stuttgart Germany working a two-year assignment at the European Command. My career has never taken me to this area before and we are very excited and happy to be part of this community.

What is your favorite part of being in the Historic Triangle?

The history! We have enjoyed the history that we didn’t know before about America. Neighboring the Training Center is the National Park Service, and we have become good friends and colleagues with the park director. One event that we particularly enjoyed was Yorktown Day last year. The world changed on Oct. 19, 1781!

What do you do for downtime/to relax?

Mary and I are very busy, the Training Center business keeps us moving at a fast pace. Because we live on base, in the beautiful and very historic home that is for the Commanding Officer and their family, we find it very relaxing to sit in the back yard and enjoy the view of the York River, nature, and all the sounds. This truly is a place that feels like a vacation. Otherwise, we absolutely love walking, we find it relaxing and enjoy the associated health benefits. We regularly walk into historic Yorktown from the house. It’s a great walk through the battlefields.

What is the next step in your journey?

When my tour is complete at the Training Center, I will have nearly 36 years in service. I am not sure what the Coast Guard will have for us next. We are not ready to retire, so we will compete for assignments like everyone else and see where the cards fall.

When the Coast Guard stops being fun, we will retire-at the moment, it’s still fun and rewarding. At the end of the day, we will go where the service needs us.

Do you want to learn more about your community and the people who live and work in the Historic Triangle? We are looking for people with interesting jobs, super volunteers, or community leaders to showcase. Reach out to let us know if you (or someone you know) would like to be considered for Ten Questions.

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