May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and today we are talking with Mr. Anthony Lewandowski, Resident Agent-in-Charge of the Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS) in Chicago, Illinois. We asked Lewandowski to reflect on his own personal history and heritage, and what it means to him to be a part of the Coast Guard workforce.
Name: Anthony J. Lewandowski
Job Title: Resident Agent-in-Charge (Civilian) | Senior Chief Petty Officer (Reserve)
Unit: CGIS Resident Agent Office Chicago (Civilian) | CGIS Mission Support (Reserve)
Hometown: Cicero, IL
Can you share a little about your background?
My parents met during the Vietnam War. My dad was stationed in Vietnam, while serving in the U.S. Navy, and my mom was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. My mom came here to start a new life with my dad. There was a strong emphasis on working hard and serving others while I was growing up. I became an Eagle Scout, attended college, ultimately earning my doctorate in Organizational Leadership. Service continued initially with the military and then as a police officer for my community, Cicero, Illinois, which is located on the west border of Chicago. After 16 years, I transitioned my law enforcement career and entered Coast Guard Investigative Services as a full-time civilian agent.
In 2004, I joined the Coast Guard Reserves, serving as a Port Security Specialist and then lateraling to Investigator. (Lewandowski currently sits above the cut for advancement to Master Chief Petty Officer and has orders as the Reserve Silver Badge Command Senior Chief at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.)
In addition to my civilian and military careers, I serve on the Cicero Family Services Community Mental Health Board, and I am a Scoutmaster for a local troop.
Do you have any role models or mentors who influenced you or helped guide you?
My primary mentor, especially in CGIS, was my former supervisor, Robert (Bob) Reggio. He served as the Resident Agent-in-Charge here in Chicago from 2004 through his untimely death in 2021. Bob always served as an inspiring role model and provided sage counsel to help set me up for success here in CGIS, as well as with my family.
Also, my mother impressed upon me at an early age a strong sense of duty and service to my community — especially the need to be successful in helping others, which meant I needed to focus on life-long learning and sacrificing leisure time for the betterment of the communities around me.
What makes you most proud about your heritage?
I’m proud of our sense of service to the community. It’s important to make positive contributions and that is a key takeaway from my background and upbringing.
What is meaningful to you about working/serving in the Coast Guard?
I can contribute and serve the world’s greatest country. We can always improve, but I am blessed to be here, and I want to be a part of making this country better for our future.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
I enjoy the engagement with not only our internal Coast Guard members, but public engagement with our maritime stakeholders and other law enforcement partners.
What does being an AANHPI member of the Coast Guard workforce mean to you?
Asian-Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are an integral part of the fabric of our society and have a long tradition of positive contributions to our country. I am humbled to be part of this community, to do my part in creating a world for a better tomorrow.
What’s really special is I have an opportunity to serve as a mentor and positive contributor to the world’s greatest Coast Guard, while bringing a unique perspective to each encounter I have.