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Lt. Cmdr. Jason Paul Brand, United States Coast Guard

United States Coast Guard

Age: 35

Counter drug, alien and migrant interdiction and living marine resource officer; United States Coast Guard, Eighth District.

Stationed: Eighth District headquarters in New Orleans, La.

I have been in the military for: 17 years

Why I decided to join: I found out about the military service academies when my friend from Arvin Congregational Church, Isaac Phillips, applied and was accepted to the United States Naval Academy. When I found out that I could continue to play football and serve my country, and that it was free, it seemed too good to pass up. I did not know anything about the U.S. Coast Guard when I signed up.

Why I continue to serve: I have loved every job that I have had in the U.S. Coast Guard. My wife, Barbie, and twin daughters, Kacey and Blakeley, continue to support me in serving our country.

Valuable advice I have learned while in the military: People should look at what they are doing and be sure to contribute something to make your family and country better in any way possible. 

What I like most about my job: My favorite job in the Coast Guard was being in charge of an eight-person law enforcement deployable team. We conducted tactical boardings for counter narcotics missions on Colombian vessels, seizing more than 70 tons of cocaine. We also conducted tactical boardings on Iraqi vessels in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, seizing many vessels that attempted to sell cargo to support Saddam Hussein. 

I have been deployed to: U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Conn.; Key West, Fla.; San Diego; South Korea; Bahrain; Jacksonville, Fla.; University of Rhode Island; and New Orleans, La.

What I learned during deployment: I have learned how lucky we are to be in America.

What I miss most about Bakersfield: I miss my parents John and Kathy, my brother David, and my friends the most. I miss everything about the small town life in Arvin, high school football, and coach Chuck Chamberlein. I also miss the Buck Owen's Crystal Palace.

My favorite activity to do while I’m home is: Eat Marcos Osuna’s carne asada tacos!

I stay connected with friends and family by: I see my family a couple times a year and I stay connected with my friends through my wife, Barbie.

My greatest military accomplishment so far: Graduating from the Coast Guard Academy.

This year, I will continue to work on: A second master’s degree through the U.S. Naval War College.

When I return home, the first thing I will do is: Give my mom a hug and help my dad with yard work.

— Know a Kern County resident who has or is currently serving in the military? Email us at bakersfieldlife@ with the message subject line: Hometown Hero. Please include an email, phone number and/or Facebook link to reach the nominee.