By PA3 Tara Molle
For Northwest Asian Weekly
Petty Officer Third Class Julie Rowe, a health services technician at the Integrated Support Command Seattle medical clinic, is all too familiar with the term “melting pot,” a variety of races, cultures, and individuals assimilating into a cohesive whole, which she along with many other Coast Guard members fit right into.
The Coast Guard hires approximately 4,000 active duty members per year and about 150 in Washington State. Of those active duty members in Washington, one-third are female and one-fourth are of a diverse background.
Rowe is a first generation Korean American. Her father, originally from Cleveland, is a retired army master sergeant who met Rowe’s mother during a tour in South Korea.
“I was born near Ft. Belvoir, Virgina,” said Rowe. “But my brother Ricky was born in Suwon, South Korea. I’ve only been to Korea twice but all my relatives on my mom’s side still live there.”
Rowe explained that she still practices some Korean cultural traditions when she visits her mom back home in Virginia.
“We have to take our shoes off every time we enter the house,” said Rowe.
In Asian cultures, taking your shoes off before you enter a house is a sign of respect and plays a factor for religious traditions and health concerns.
“We also eat our meals either on the floor or at a low table and we include rice at every meal,” said Rowe. “Unfortunately, I understand more Korean than I am able to speak. My mom sometimes yells at me in Korean, so I always understand that!” she said laughing.
“I was able to meet the highest ranking officer in the Korean Coast Guard during the North Pacific Coast Guard Forum last year,” said Rowe. “I was able to shake his hand and say ‘Ahn-yong ha-seh-yo,’ which is hello in Korean.”
Rowe has been in the Coast Guard for close to five years now and stays busy at the medical clinic on base.
“I mainly process all of the referrals that come through from our members,” said Rowe. “I help the members out with any problems they may have with civilian providers. I also help out with the outpatient process such as taking vitals, taking blood samples and things like that.”
The health services technician field is one of the most common jobs selected by active duty members entering into the Seattle Area.
Rowe is also currently working on obtaining her bachelor’s degree in medical administration and has been taking classes through Highline Community College based out of Des Moines, Wash.
“I have had my ups and downs in my job just like any other, but I really enjoy what I do,” said Rowe. “I just like knowing that I can help people.” ♦
For more information about job opportunities in the Coast Guard, visit www.gocoastguard.com.