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LCDR Laurence Chen

LCDR Laurence Chen

I am a first generation American, with both my parents being Jamaican of Chinese descent. At the Academy, I was one of the founding members of the Asian Pacific American Council, which is now the largest affinity club at the academy.

My high school in Miami, FL (MAST Academy) is home to the country’s first Coast Guard (CG) JROTC program. I participated in the program for four years and was exposed to the CG as a freshman in high school. This included wearing the CG uniform, learning CG history and traditions, and providing me early leadership opportunities. More importantly, I was able to regularly volunteer with local CG units such as Station Miami Beach and learned about the CG’s Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) community, which sparked my interest in joining.

Since graduating in 2007, I’ve been fortunate to have a very operational CG career. My multiple assignments have predominantly been dedicated to law enforcement and the CG’s Deployable Specialized Forces community, including two tours at both TACLET and Patrol Forces Southwest Asia in the Middle East. I firmly believe there is no more challenging but rewarding job for a young Junior Officer than being a Law Enforcement Detachment Officer in Charge at a TACLET.

The Academy is here to recruit officers not cadets. It is important that students apply to the CGA because they want to be an officer, not solely for the academic or other benefits. The earlier a prospective cadet can find what part of the CG sparks his/her interests and passion the better. This is what gives you motivation to get through all the challenges and obstacles you’ll be facing during those 4 years at the Academy. It is so important to always focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and what you want to do when you graduate. I really enjoy helping people find that.

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