Hero’s Bridge is excited to introduce, Field Battle Buddy Sean Hagerty.
Sean tried a few college classes before deciding that it wasn’t for him. “I came from a business-minded family, and just couldn’t see myself following that path,” he said. He turned his attention to the military. “The Coast Guard is everywhere in Narragansett, Rhode Island, where I lived. There was no question which branch I would enlist in.”
After Basic Training in Cape May, New Jersey, he chose Key West and Miami for his preferred assignments. He was given Rhode Island and spent seven months in Ireland, France, and Portugal. “At the time, I was just a seaman, learning my job,” he said.
He returned stateside and studied engineering in Yorktown, Virginia before being sent south, where he worked in counter-narcotics and immigration. Sean helped interdict 36 cases of illicit drugs and rescued over 600 migrants trying to gain U.S. entry at sea while patrolling South American seas.
The Nation is Rocked
On September 1, 2001, just a few years into his Miami Station, Sean was sent to a port 25 miles north of Boston.
Ten days later, the foundation of the United States was shaken, and Sean was on the coastal frontline. “I was quickly moved to Boston and helped set up the first Boston Harbor Defense Team, which has since been turned into Station Boston,” he said.
In the days following 9/11, all ships were docked. “The only ships permitted in the harbor had blue lights,” he said. After a few weeks, lobster boats and water taxis began running again. But both had to be escorted by the Coast Guard in and out of the Harbor.
Several months after 9/11, a liquid and natural gas tanker needed to enter Boston Harbor. “Research was done on the radius of damage if one of these were blown up. We weren’t even sure if we could provide enough security to escort it through the harbor. The tanker captain was hesitant to come in,” recalled Sean. When the first gas tanker pulled through the harbor, Sean helped coordinate its escort by 12 boats and two helicopters.
He was deputized as a U.S. Marshal during his time in Boston, “We needed to expand our law enforcement duties in the aftermath of 9/11,” he said.
Sean is extremely proud of his service during 9/11.
After Boston, he returned south and resumed his service in counter-narcotics and immigration. He then spent four years back in New Jersey as a lead Company Commander. In this role, Sean graduated 11 recruit companies and developed over 900 new Coastguardsmen. It was there that he met his wife, Kali, who was also in the Coast Guard.
His service would take him to Maine and south again to the Houston-Galveston area of Texas.
Called to Protect Against a Worldwide Pandemic
In June 2019, Sean was assigned Command Duty Officer at the National Command Center in Washington, D.C. Less than one year later, the country was under a different kind of attack.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Coast Guard worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on cruise ship passengers’ re-entry into the United States. “The states wanted to let them back in, but the Coast Guard said no. We needed to mitigate the situation for everyone’s safety,” he said.
Sean also worked with the federal response team during the major hurricanes that swept across the Atlantic states over the past few years. He facilitated critical planning and response communications between operational commanders, the Department of Homeland Security executive, the White House Situation Room, and 10 federal agencies for over in over 60 nationally significant events.
Sean retired from the military in May 2022 after 24 years and eight months of service.
“By August, my kids were eager for me to work again,” he joked. He sat poolside one-day last summer scrolling through his phone when he ran across the Field Battle Buddy opportunity with Hero’s Bridge.
“I love working here. Every veteran has their own needs. No two days are the same,” he said. “I’m shocked at how few older veterans have VA connections. I find myself working to increase VA service benefits for veterans weekly,” he added.
Sean is pleased to see an increasing number of elderly veterans asking for help. “Some of the veterans I see acknowledge that ten years ago they wouldn’t have asked for help, but today they realize that they could use some,” said Sean.
Thankfully for them, Sean is there ready to provide that help.
Sean is pictured here with his service dog, Stormy.