Spring 2010: Register
Courtesy Kevin McCormack
Coast Guard to the Test
By Mallory Goldberg 10C
When the devastating earthquake hit Haiti in January, United States Coast Guard (USCG) Lieutenant Commander Kevin McCormack 95C traveled to the Coast Guard’s Miami district office to work on getting supplies to Port-au-Prince.
“Everything that we would more or less take for granted—clean water, toilets, shops, cell phones—is all gone and your world very much changes,” says McCormack. “It takes a long time to get a developed country back on its feet, and for a country like Haiti, they’ve got a long road ahead of them.”
McCormack’s natural inclination to help took root during his years at Emory, through his involvement as a freshmen seminar leader and a residence hall adviser, as well as in student government and in the student programming council. He calls on these skills in his role as commanding officer of the Coast Guard Institute in Oklahoma City.
The institute administers advancement tests for all seventy-five thousand enlisted members of the USCG. It also manages the tuition assistance program and grant money for members pursuing higher education degrees.
Even with a father in the Air Force and both grandfathers in the Army Air Corps, it wasn’t until one of McCormack’s Emory peers encouraged him to enlist in the Armed Forces that he thought about it as an option. With his family’s support, he graduated from Emory College and left to attend the Coast Guard’s program for Officer Candidate School.
After seventeen weeks of early mornings, demanding days, and late nights, McCormack completed the rigorous program and traveled with the USCG, living around the country in California, Florida, Louisiana, and Michigan, until his current post at the Institute in Oklahoma City.
As commanding officer, McCormack supervises all of the institute’s operations.
“Overseeing a freshman hall as an R.A. is not too different than my job now—having a gaggle of teenagers who are working for you,” McCormack says. “It’s the whole mentality of helping folks figure out what they are going to do that I enjoy.”