DVIDS – News – Rear Adm. Cari Thomas visits the U.S. Coast Guard team in Guam, reaffirms how CGMA serves members
SANTA RITA, Guam — Rear Adm. Cari Thomas (retired), chief executive officer of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance (CGMA), made her way to Guam, the first week in December 2023 to spend time with the U.S. Coast Guard team.
This visit underscores the commitment of CGMA to support its members and their families, especially those stationed in remote locations like Guam.
“Caring for our Coast Guard family is not just a duty; it’s a heartfelt commitment that gains depth and meaning when we meet face-to-face. Seeing our members and their families firsthand, hearing their stories, and understanding their challenges reinforces the importance of our mission at CGMA,” said Rear Adm. Thomas.
CGMA, an independent non-profit organization, plays a pivotal role as the official relief society of the U.S. Coast Guard. Established to provide financial assistance, disaster relief, and various forms of aid, CGMA has been a beacon of hope for many Coast Guard families facing emergencies, financial hardships, and disasters.
During her stay, Rear Adm. Thomas engaged in impactful activities, starting with a command in-brief with U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and Base Guam. Her interaction with department heads and senior enlisted members highlighted the mutual understanding and respect between CGMA and local U.S. Coast Guard leadership.
A key highlight of her visit was the CGMA Representative Meeting and the sharing of CGMA volunteer stories, showcasing CGMA’s work’s real-life impact. The tour of the USCGC Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) and U.S. Coast Guard Station Apra Harbor all-hands meeting provided Rear Adm. Thomas with a firsthand look at the operational aspects of the Coast Guard in Guam.
“My long-term service, both in the Coast Guard and now with CGMA, has been driven by a deep-seated belief in serving those who dedicate their lives to protecting our nation. It’s more than leadership; it’s about being part of a community that stands together through thick and thin,” said Thomas. “Every handshake, every conversation, every shared experience with our members in Guam and elsewhere strengthens my resolve to ensure that we, as a nation, are always there for them, just as they are always there for us.”
Her involvement in the wardroom lunch and meetings with command spouses were not just formalities but a sincere effort to understand and acknowledge the challenges faced by U.S. Coast Guard families in Guam. These interactions are crucial in reinforcing the support system CGMA provides.
Rear Adm. Thomas’s meet-and-greet with Chaplain Min and Employee Assistance Program Liaison Mrs. Leon-Guerrero, along with her meeting with the local representatives of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, symbolize a collaborative spirit between different support organizations, ensuring comprehensive aid for service members.
The departure breakfast with the Spouses Club and coffee with Chiefs were fitting conclusions to her visit, encapsulating the essence of community and mutual support that CGMA champions.
Throughout her illustrious career, Rear Adm. Thomas has advocated for service members and their families. Her subsequent work with the Navy League of the United States and her service on various committees, including the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) and the Navy Mutual Aid Association Board, reflect her dedication to the welfare of those who serve.
Her visit to Guam is not just a ceremonial gesture but a reaffirmation of CGMA’s commitment, especially in light of their recent efforts during Typhoon Mawar, providing grants for property and food loss. With a history dating back to 1924 and having assisted over 30,000 members since 2018, CGMA’s role in the U.S. Coast Guard community remains invaluable.
“Rear Adm. Cari Thomas’s visit to Guam stands as a testament to the enduring support and solidarity of CGMA with the U.S. Coast Guard, especially in challenging and remote assignments like those in Micronesia,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “Her presence brought not just encouragement but also a renewed sense of community and resilience among the Coast Guard families in Guam.”
About Team Guam
U.S. Coast Guard Team Guam, comprising over 300 members across Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, focused on maritime safety, security, and stewardship in Oceania. The team includes U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and U.S. Coast Guard Base Guam, and their sub-units, staffed by dedicated active-duty, reserve, and civilian personnel. This integrated team, with a significant presence in Guam, Saipan, and the Micronesia sub-region, reinforces the longstanding U.S. Coast Guard’s operational and logistics community presence and enhances partnerships in the Western Pacific.
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