Krysta Rohde, 22, of Richmond Hill has always loved sailing and the water.
In fact, it’s a family thing – her parents met when her father asked her mother to join his college sailing team. Her mother, Carrie Rohde, serves as sailing coach at Richmond Hill High School. Krysta herself has been sailing from a young age, as have her siblings, and it remains an important family hobby.
Now, Rohde will embark on a military career on the water with the U.S. Coast Guard, having just graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.
“I did a huge college tour … and the Coast Guard school stood out because of the unique opportunities,” she said. “I knew that beyond the academy, the Coast Guard would fit really well with me because it's all about the water.”
She and her graduating class received their commissions from President Barack Obama at a ceremony on May 18.
“It was a good culmination to a tough four years,” said Rohde. “It was pretty exciting – he handed me my commission and said ‘congratulations, you're going to do a great job.’ He was really, really nice.”
Her first commission will be aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Forward, based in Portsmouth, Va., where she will serve for two years.
“My official title is ‘Deck Watch Officer,’ so I’ll be in charge of navigating the ship and there's a whole host of duties,” she explained.
Rohde said she is both nervous and excited to begin her first tour of duty.
“Reporting on a ship as an officer, you take on a lot of responsibility,” she said.
Her younger sister, Devon, will be entering the U.S. Coast Guard Academy this year.
“I think Devon went through the same process I did, where she didn't always know she wanted to go to Coast Guard Academy, but it presented a great opportunity when she was looking at colleges,” said Krysta. “It's the kind of place where you can only make it through if you choose to go yourself – it takes a lot to get through – so I was really careful not to tell her anything good or bad because I knew this had to be her idea from the get-go. She'll do great; I have no doubt she'll make it just fine.”
Rohde credits her family with helping her get through military school.
“I'm very thankful for my parents,” Rohde said. “They support me and my brother and sisters through everything we do, and have supported me through the four years of academy.”