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The Guam Experience from an SSBN Submariner

YN2 Kyle Rist, CSS-15 Commodore’s Writer

YN2 Kyle Rist was serving on the USS Alabama in Bangor when he selected Guam for his next assignment. When Rist’s detailer told him his two options were Hawaii or Guam, he quickly chose Guam. “I thought it would be better to work at CSS-15 and around fast boats since I’m a SSBN submariner”, he said. Additionally, after enduring the cold winter in Washington, Rist was ready to live in a tropical environment and was “glad to go overseas”, he said. “That’s why I joined”.

Now, more than six months later, Rist is settled into his life on Guam, and reflects on his recent transition.

 “My move was alright. I’m a single guy and I lived in the barracks so I didn’t have much to pack,” he said. “The move here was lacking in information”, he admitted. Rist found himself reaching to personnel who had visited Guam on port calls for guidance until he could make contact with his sponsor. Rist now lives in town and said he would make the decision to come to Guam again. “I would do it again with the knowledge I have now,” he said. “Specifically, knowledge about entitlements,” he added. These entitlements can include Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Program (OTEIP), Assignment Incentive Pay (AIP) or Consecutive Overseas Tour (COT) Leave Travel Entitlement Policy. For more information about entitlements and eligibility, visit (link to “entitlements and incentives” page)

“Professionally, it’s been good”, Rist said. “I like my job, I like coming to work every day and I work hard here”. Rist praised the support of the military community on island, and the beauty of Guam itself.  “When I compare the beauty of this island to Hawaii, to me, this trumps Hawaii. It’s the clearest water I’ve ever seen”. In his down time, Rist enjoys Guam’s scenic hikes and plans to get into diving in the near future – an activity Guam is known for.

Despite his biggest challenges – not yet having a car on island and dealing with the time difference between Guam and the East coast, Rist indicated that an assignment on Guam is something to look forward to. He also offered words of advice for those who will serve on Guam in the future: “Do your research,” he said. “Know where you’re going, know your entitlement and ask questions.”