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    Station Apra Harbor reservists take gold in Micro Games



    Story by Chief Warrant Officer Anastasia Devlin 

    U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters

    Two exceptional reservists from Sector Guam captured medals at the Micronesian Games held in Yap State, in the Federated States of Micronesia in mid-July. They didn’t just medal, though, they took center stage.
    Petty Officer 3rd Class Mary Gillan, a reserve maritime enforcement specialist (ME) at Station Apra Harbor, represented Guam as a member of the women’s volleyball team, and Chief Petty Officer Todd Genereux, a reserve member of the Station’s engineering department, participated in the spear fishing competition.
    “This demonstrates the amazing people in the Reserve, including the far reaches of the Pacific,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Lucas Pullen, the sector’s command master chief.
    The Micro Games, as they’re known, are held every four years, rotating through the countries, commonwealths, and territories in Micronesia (an area west of Hawaii and north of Australia). The participants also take part in the Pacific Games, another quadrennial event, similar to the Olympics. The athletes from these beautiful islands participate in more than a dozen “summer sport” fields, such as softball, fishing, triathlon, swimming, wrestling and volleyball.

    Mary Gillan, Guam National Women’s Volleyball Team, Gold Medal
    Mary Gillan, born and raised on Guam, is from a family that’s always excelled at sports. Her mother Terri had been a member of the Guam National Team in the 1970s, and she continued in the sport, coaching all three of her girls, including Mary.
    “I started learning about volleyball since as far back as I can remember,” said Gillan, who tried other sports like rugby and
    soccer, but focused on volleyball competitively since elementary school. “Volleyball always meant more to me since it had deep roots in my family.”
    After leaving Guam to attend Chaminade University (and play volleyball at the collegiate level) in Honolulu, Gillan came home to participate in the 2014 Micro Games with her sister Emma, as captain. Gillan overcame old injuries to participate, and she and her team took the gold medal, the third time in a row for Guam.
    After the games, Gillan began her law enforcement career, first as an officer with the Guam Police Department, and later, as a probation officer. She enlisted in the Coast Guard Reserve last year, right around the same time she began trying out for the 2018 Micro Games. Last spring, a stint at ME A-school temporarily took her away from a rigorous training schedule, which
    was split between the court and CrossFit sessions. Gillan was excited to be back defending Guam’s gold medal, this time as the co-captain of the team.
    She led and mentored the team, and on game days, stayed aggressive on offense. In the last game in the series, Gillan served the last four points securing the gold medal for Guam for a fourth time.
    Surprising no one, she was named the game's most valuable player.

    Todd Genereux, Spear fishing, Gold Medal
    Anywhere else in the world, a fisherman would be delighted to pull in four or five huge fish after a few hours’ worth of fishing, but not Chief Genereux – the 2018 Micro Games spear fishing competition (max weight in six hours) would be fierce and memorable.
    Raised on Guam since he was three, Genereux experiences life through the lens of water. He started free diving as soon as he could swim and started spear fishing at 13. By 16, he owned his first boat, and he began trolling and bottom fishing. Later, as a boatman for the South Pacific Games, Genereux was blown away by the spear fishermen’s techniques and how they netted huge amounts of heavy, tropical fish.
    “It’s the most selective type of fishing; you choose exactly what fish you want,” said Genereux, “but when I say ‘choose,’ I mean ‘attempt to catch [fish]—on a single breath of air—in their environment, where you’re not the top of the food chain.’”
    This style of fishing yields almost no waste, and some competitions have built in "bag limits" on species and locations to ensure environmental stewardship and prevent overfishing.
    After the South Pacific Games, Genereux joined the Coast Guard and reported to Station Apra Harbor. Now, after almost 15 years at the station (with about seven years of it on full-time active duty orders during personnel shortages), he’s a qualified coxswain, engineer and boarding officer. There’s not much the chief doesn’t have a hand in at the station.
    “When I first started here, we had two 25[-foot boat]s, and our boat bay was a canopy,” he said, laughing as he remembered that any time the wind went over 25 knots, they had to take down the canopy. As the station developed, Genereux helped build the structures that made it feel like home for the crew. “We worked on the kitchen, installed the washers and dryers and built fences. We had a great team of guys; now it’s as good as any station back on the mainland.”
    When his last set of active duty orders ended, the chief had more flexible work hours in several part-time ventures: as a boat captain, a real estate agent and the owner of a rental car company. He spoke with a Hawaiian accent, evocative of island life, when he joked, “They’re all jobs where I don’t have to be there.”
    Genereux’s flexible schedule allowed him to spend much of his free time training for the Micro Games, researching equipment, improving his physical fitness and educating himself on fishing styles.
    “Every country has its own rules; there are size limits, catch limits and endangered species,” said Genereux. “You have to be able to catch all types of fish, not just the ones you’re used to catching at home. The best training is to actually fish. When I get free time after work and the water’s calm, we all jump on my boat and head out.”
    On a typical day of free diving and spear fishing, he’ll do close to 200 dives, each one around two minutes long. “The more you do it, the less you have to hold your breath,” he said with a laugh, though he wears a dive computer to remind himself of his body’s need for oxygen. “You can’t let your adrenaline take over.”
    Despite stormy weather July 16, Team Guam left the dock on their support boat, loaded up with cases of diving and fishing equipment. It was the second day of the Games, and things were off to a rainy start. Despite rough
    seas, Genereux and his teammate got to work, each individually attempting to secure the heaviest weight in fish within the six-hour time limit.
    The spear fishermen came up with their shiny, water- slicked catch, pulling massive, dog-sized tropical fish over the gunnels, each one in vivid, beautiful color: bright orange, olive drab and speckled turquoise.
    In coverage of the event, Genereux was reported to be “machine-like”: out of seven, two-man teams, Genereux netted the heaviest, gold-winning catch: 177.5 pounds, blowing past the silver medalist by more than 30 pounds. Team Guam shared their catch with the boatmen, area scouts, members of Guam’s teams and the dockworkers who help at the competition measuring each man’s catch. Though the day was about the sport, every fish would end up as dinner. Genereux’s already looking forward to the 2022 Games.
    “I believe most of my success comes from being in and around the ocean my whole life,” said Genereux. “It's where I go to work, play and relax, and I never stop learning something new from it.”

    Story was originally published on page 38 of the November 2018 issue of Reservist.



    Date Taken: 12.01.2018
    Date Posted: 12.31.2018 18:59
    Story ID: 314201
    Location: APRA HARBOR, US

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