Videos: Today's Military
    Coast Guard

    Minding the Store(04:46)

    Storekeeper 3rd Class Anitra Lyle discusses her travels to Africa and life on a boat. As a storekeeper, she tracks inventory, handles shipping and receiving and maintains accounts.

    Coast Guard ratings cover four groups: Deck and Ordnance, Hull and Engineering, Aviation and Administrative and Scientific. The rating you will have depends on your ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) results and your prior work experience.

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Storekeeper 3rd Class Anitra Lyle: I am Anitra Lyle. I am stationed on the Coast Guard Cutter Legare, sailing out of Virginia. And I'm a storekeeper 3rd class.

I would say I can go home and tell my mom everywhere I've been and show her all the pictures and bring her stuff back because she hasn't been anywhere I've been to. So it's neat, you know what I mean? Like my eyes are her eyes.

Africa. We went to Senegal, Dakar, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Cape Verde, and we got to go to Portugal — well, Portugal Island, Madeira and the Azores, and it was an experience that was, like, unbelievable. I got to meet new people; I met ambassadors, a lot of foreign dignitaries, we got to help children out, got to see a lot of things. Like, I went to the rainforest. You know, I saw a castle. It was awesome.

The highlight, probably, was Madeira Island because it was, like, a complete relax, complete relax, and it was nothing but us going around, having fun. You know, I ate McDonald's for the first time in four months and Pizza Hut. That was really cool.

I came from a cutter. I came from the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, which is a 378 in Charleston, went to school in Petaluma and came here.

On the 270 ... 378, there's a lot of differences, especially like the way the ship's made up. And, like here, it's less people, so it's a lot closer, like, it's a more tight-knit crew. On a 378 it's so much bigger. I mean, you know everybody, but it's not as close as it is here. I had a lot of fun on my 378, but I've also had a lot of fun here. I got my Emerald Shellback this patrol. And a lot of people don't have that, but I got it.

We had an initiation when we crossed the axis. It's like an imaginary axis in the ocean. We got to have a carnival on top of the ship. We did skits. We got all of our certificates to be pulled in. But just to have it, you know, like a lot of people in the Coast Guard don't have it. That's why it's a good opportunity to get on a ship because you can do, like, so many things.

Underway, you'll never see as many stars in the sky at night. You'll never see such beautiful sunsets or sunrises. It's different. That's why I came back to boat because I missed the boat so much. Oh, that and it was in Virginia, too, so it obviously helped out. But you get to see just so much, and you pull into awesome ports, just different, different places.

I'm originally from Virginia. I came back home to be close to my family. For fun, I'm definitely a shopper. Sounds really funny, but I shop a lot. I enjoy spending time with my friends. I have a little doggie at home I get to go home to. I love amusement parks, so I'm so glad that I got stationed next to Busch Gardens. Big fan of, like, basketball, fishing, hunting. I go hunting with my dad.

I became a storekeeper because I wanted to do something that directly helped, like, my unit. And you know, supplies isn't the biggest part of our unit, but it's definitely a help. Like, we get everybody everything they need. You know, if there's a problem, they can always come to me and ask me questions, and I'm on top of it, that kind of reason.

I had so much fun in "A" School. It's in Petaluma, which is an hour away from San Francisco, so that was definitely a plus. My teachers were really good. I had SK1 Cruz, SK1 Armorella and SK1 Robinson. They were definitely good teachers. I learned a lot of stuff that I use now at my new unit.

Storekeeper is pretty much you guys put an order in, we get it for you. If an emergency happens and you guys need a part, we're the first ones on the job. We're the first ones to get it, you know, have it to you the second it gets in. That's mostly it, and then we do, like, inventory where we go throughout the ship or your unit depending on where you're stationed at, and we make sure everything's there and what you don't have there, that we put it there.

Right now, at this point in time, not quite sure. Like, my ultimate goal was to get out and become a teacher, and the GI Bill is definitely going to help me do that, but who knows what can happen? You know, I could end up being a lifer.