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Always Ready: Celebrating the Coast Guard

Semper Paratus - Always Ready. 

Nearly 230 years ago today, the U.S. Coast Guard was created to collect custom duties in seaports along the coast. While its role has since shifted, more than two centuries later the Coast Guard’s motto, “Semper Paratus – Always Ready,” is equally significant as the day of its founding.

NMSI’s proud to celebrate Coast Guard Day by supporting the men and women who defend and preserve our country on domestic and international waters. One of NMSI’s own shared her personal story of being part of a Coast Guard-connected family.
For Megan Allegretti, NMSI Director of School Partnerships & Program Management in New York City, the Coast Guard motto takes on a slightly different meaning. As wife to Hale Allegretti, an O-4 Lieutenant Commander and long-time member of the Coast Guard, Megan is also always ready as she adapts to the frequent changes in location, roles and responsibilities that accompany her husband's position in the military.
Megan and Hale met in 2011 in a flag football league. She was immediately drawn to his athletic ability — she lived a very active lifestyle — and how effortlessly they could discuss their many similarities. She admired his dedication to service that mirrored her passion toward helping others.
At that time, Hale was well into his Coast Guard career. Immediately after graduating high school, he enrolled in the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. When it became clear to Megan and Hale that their relationship was more than casual dating, they began to discuss the realities of his career — and how it would affect both of their futures. 
You get moved every two to three to four years depending on the assignment. So, we had a very honest conversation about if I was okay with that, and what that would be like for us," Megan said. "I was mostly just intrigued to learn more.
In other words, Megan was ready. Ready for the excitement of frequent moves across the country. Ready to tackle the challenges of navigating her own career. Ready to dive into the tight-knit Coast Guard community to which Hale had dedicated his life and service.
By 2013, they were married. This year, Megan and Hale celebrated their five-year anniversary with the newest addition of the Allegretti family — 17-month-old Bryce.
Bryce, like his parents, leads an active lifestyle for a toddler. According to Megan, he's a natural-born explorer with a special love for climbing, running and trying new things. He spends his days in the daycare at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington D.C., the same building where his dad works to coordinate the Coast Guard budget for 2020.
Bryce's introduction to the family added a new layer to the conversations about Hale's Coast Guard career. Proximity to grandparents and cousins seemed more significant than before. The frequent moves now came with concerns about Bryce's adjustment to new surroundings and, eventually, new schools.
"When we get our orders — they're not suggestions, they're orders — of where to go next, how do we manage the process so that Bryce has a good experience?" Megan shared. "I see the challenge particularly as you move to different states and you get a different educational experience, unfortunately, because of varying standards across the states."

The challenge of providing a cohesive educational experience is one that many families across all military branches must tackle – and one NMSI, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, was inspired to support through its Military Families Mission. According to a report released by the Lexington Institute in 2017, the shortage of access to consistent, high-quality education for military-connected students is a big factor when service members consider new assignments.
Despite these concerns, Megan and Hale are ready – not only to navigate the blessings and challenges of being a Coast Guard family, but to include and integrate Bryce in their passion for serving others as he grows older.
I'm very proud of the example that we're setting for Bryce. The type of careers that we have and the connection to the military — he'll be able to see what that's like and it will be an influence in his life.

Watch the video below to learn more about how NMSI's Military Families Mission supports families like Megan's.