Military Family Month: Meet the Sergents

The Sergent Family

Lt. Cmdr. Corrie Sergent with her husband, Michael, 2-year-old son, Maverick, and 3-month-old son, Colt. Corrie works in the Coast Guard 17th District enforcement division.

It’s hard to say just where a Coast Guard career might take you. Although concentrated in the United States, active duty and reserve members serve all over the world. With deployments and reassignments always right around the corner, home isn’t necessarily a place, but more often an idea.

One way of making a home is through building a family. When Lt. Cmdr. Corrie Sergent (then Lt. Corrie Higgins) met Michael Sergent, she knew that it was time for her to start one of her own. At the time they were both working in Washington, D.C. She was at Coast Guard headquarters and he was an accountant.

“I was considering getting out of the Coast Guard, because I did really care for him,” said Corrie of an impending transfer. “I had to have the awkward conversation early in our relationship of, ‘would you consider moving if this relationship continues?”

The two were married in 2011; seven years after Corrie graduated the Coast Guard Academy. This is the part of the story where people normally say, “the rest is history,” but anyone who balances a family and military services knows that it takes constant teamwork to overcome some of the inherent obstacles.

“It was quite a change to realize that I was going to be moving every three or four years, but I also found it exciting,” said Michael. “For instance right now I’m in Alaska, where I never thought I would be.”

They were off to a great start, both of them catching up on education when they moved to Seattle for Corrie’s new job at Sector Puget Sound. While Corrie finished graduate school and Michael passed his Certified Public Accountant exam, they decided they were ready to expand the family. It’s a decision that can be just as rewarding as it is challenging. This is especially the case in a place like Alaska, where the couple headed after Seattle.

“There’s a good bit of normal American families that have extended family in the same town, but when you move with the Coast Guard you have none of that,” said Michael.

It was his job to get the family settled in when they moved for the fast paced enforcement job Corrie currently holds at the Coast Guard 17th District.

“Because I do travel so much, he’s been a single parent,” Corrie said. “And it usually ends up that the kid is always sick when I have to travel.”

It’s not always easy, but Michael is a pro. With a little help from the Coast Guard community and grandparents willing to travel, he’s able to take care of 2-year-old Maverick, and more recently 3-month-old Colt, even as he continues to pursue his own career as an accountant.

“It’s really easy to turn inward and rely on just yourself and your spouse, but there are a lot of great programs in the Coast Guard,” Michael said. “I went over to the Admiral’s tea party for spouses – I was the only male there which was a little intimidating – but I got to meet the ombudsman and learn a little more about the programs that are available to help the families.”

The loving support of Coast Guard families plays an important role in accomplishing Coast Guard missions. Without a dedicated team at home, being ready for demanding military service can be nearly impossible.

For Corrie, who has received support both at home and in the office, meeting daily life challenges is all about communication on both fronts.

“One, you have to have a spouse that’s on board and have that conversation early,” Corrie said. “And two, just be honest with the Coast Guard. I’ve never seen family not come first in the Coast Guard.”

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