CARLA A. SHEPHERD U.S. COAST GUARD, E-3

We at Keys Weekly want to honor the men and women serving in our local military installations. With help and advice from our community members in the armed forces, we’re proud to present our  Military Spotlight.

Why did you join the military? It was a great opportunity to work within the Department of Homeland Security, the branch that closely aligned with my desire to serve the public and conduct drug interdiction.

How many years have you been in the military? 1 ½ years

Had you ever been to the Florida Keys/Key West before your current assignment? I had never been to the Florida Keys, but it was always a place I wanted to visit. 

Did you choose Key West or were you just assigned here? I asked to work anywhere in Florida, but I specified that I’d love to be stationed in Key West to be able to experience the Keys.

What were your first thoughts upon learning you were coming to the Keys? I was extremely excited, and I knew my husband would also be happy as he has always liked the idea of living on an island. I knew I was going to love what I did because of the environment. I was also told I would be extremely busy because of the platform of ship I was coming to. I was happy to be able to do the missions of search and rescue, law enforcement, migrant interdiction and boating safety.

Hobbies and favorite things? I really enjoy being a volunteer wrestling coach at Key West High School, and I like to read. I love spending time with my family, my husband and our dog and going on bike rides.

Have you ever attended Fantasy Fest and if so what were your initial thoughts? I attended last year. It was cool to see people’s creativity in decorating the parade floats.

What do you like most about the Keys? Besides the amazing water and priceless views, I really appreciate how welcoming the locals are. The community is very supportive of the military.

What do you like most about your assignment? Working as I am in a smaller unit, the crew’s bond is like family and I get assigned tasks that third class petty officers typically do. In my short time in the Coast Guard I have been able to help interdict drugs and keep them off the street, save lives and secure our border from illegal immigration.

What would you change about living here in Key West if you had the power to do so? I would build a Target!

Any advice for other military members seeking assignment here? Enjoy the environment, and do all the things tourists pay hundreds of dollars to do.

What do you like most about living here? Being able to go to the beach for everything: runs, reading, getting some sun, drawing, beach volleyball and swimming.

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