Monday, March 31, 2008

Midgett Commander Relieved after Striking Enlisted Watchstander

Somehow this escaped most of my usual Coastie news sources. Capt Lee Alexander, Commanding Officer of the Cutter Midgett was relieved for cause due to an incident where he struck an enlisted security watchstander. Capt Alexander has requested retirement from the Service.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Bears & Dolphins

No, it's not a football game. It's a different game, played day by day in the Caribbean Sea. Hercules also had a starring role in this drama:

The cutter Bear, with it's embarked MH-65C helicopter, worked to recover 3200 pounds of cocaine dumped by a fleeing drug smuggler. Local 10 news has the full story.


It's been two years Dad, and I still have a hard time accepting that you're gone. Know that you are loved, and missed...

No More Morning Dew

In a rescue effort that highlighted enhanced response in the days since the Morning Dew incident, Coast Guard Station Hobucken, NC and Air Station Elizabeth City combined efforts for the rescue of a couple and their pets (two dogs and a bird) from their sinking sailboat, the Linger While. Portsmouth's Wavy 10 has the story.

Monday, March 24, 2008

4 Dead, 1 Injured in Alaska

From the CNN feed...

4 crewmembers are dead, and 1 missing in the sinking of the Alaska Ranger, a fishing boat based out of Seattle.

Alaska Ranger, in a file photo

The fishing vessel began taking on water early on Sunday morning, and eventually the order was given to abandon ship. 25 crewmembers were recovered by the nearby fishing vessel Alaska Warrior. The remainder of the crew were recovered by the Coast Guard. The cutter Munro, as well as several aircraft, were participating in the search and recovery.

EDIT: Chicago Tribune has a good article on the story here.

Alaska Ranger
crew after rescue on Munro

Friday, March 21, 2008

Use of Semi-Submersibles as Drug Smuggling Craft on the Rise

According a new article from CNN International, drug smugglers are adapting to Coast Guard and DEA tactics for apprehending and stopping drug smuggling vessels at sea. In recent years, the use of semi-submersible vessels, assembled at great cost in pieces in the Columbian jungle, was a microcosm of the overall smuggling enterprise. Today, the use of difficult to detect, harder to stop submersibles is becoming more common. Adm. Thad Allen said that the Coast Guard's counter-narcotics efforts are witnessing more of these vessels, and intelligence officials expect the number to rise. What's next?

See video of a semi-sub intercept here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Join the Coast Guard!

The Canadian Coast Guard, that is. Seems our friends to the North are looking for a few good men (or women) to fill their ranks. Maybe dual-citizenship could have its perks?

Eagle's Rich History

Read Along

(From my own collection)

Coast Guard Seeking Help of Local Volunteers

It seems the backlash from the Cosco Busan incident is finally taking hold, but not where you might expect. In one of the most overlooked areas in which the Coast Guard operates, the Operations Controllers (Search and Rescue coordinators) from Sector Buffalo are seeking to organize with local volunteer agencies to allow for quicker response to environmental hazards, such as oil spills. The St. Lawrence River is a world-renowned freshwater boating paradise, and the 2 small USCG units that patrol and protect the area do not have the equipment or capabilities to handle a large-scale oil or other spill. Hopefully, we will see this take root in other areas. Article

Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Article on the Recovery of the Cougar Ace

I remember hearing back in '06 about the sinking of the Cougar Ace, a car carrying RO/RO cargo ship that I have waved to during its passage into San Diego, delivering cars from British Columbia. What I never heard about was the work that went into the salvage of the ship, the Coast Guard's rescue of the crew, and the loss of one of the salvage workers. This is a great writeup on Wired.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Cutter Dallas Loses Go-Fast Due to Faulty Lights

In a further testament to the antiquity of Coast Guard assets and mounting difficulties in meeting maintenance requirements, Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen testified on Thursday that the Coast Guard Cutter Dallas out of Charleston, South Carolina was forced to give up chase on a go-fast due to faulty landing gear lights. Coast Guard shipboard aviation policy does not allow for the launch of embarked aircraft without operational flight deck lights, and the time necessary to effect repairs on the flight deck lights on this 41 year-old cutter cost them the go-fast. The 40-knot fast boat escaped the Dallas when the cutter's embarked MH-65C helicopter could not launch as a result of the failed lights. Equipment failures like this are common on these aging assets, and their ability to maintain mission readiness is rapidly deteriorating due to increased mission requirements.

Read the full article on Navy Times here.

Happy Hundredth, Station Tillamook!

On March 7, 1908, the Barview Lifesaving Station was established approximately 11 miles north of Garibaldi, Oregon. Today marks the 100th Anniversary of that event. Many things have changed since that day:

  • In 1942, the original station was sold to a private buyer, and a new station was constructed in the town of Garibaldi.
  • In 1981, the current station was constructed.
In the 100 years since the Station first started standing watch, the Tillamook Bay Station has stood the watch over one of the most treacherous sections of coastline in the Pacific Northwest. Happy Birthday Station Tillamook!

Read the article in The Daily Astorian.
Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay Home Page

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cutter Forward Delivers the Goods

The US Coast Guard Cutter Forward is scheduled to unload approximately 1600 pounds of cocaine (valued at over $52 million), as well as 6 suspects from the F/V Miss Alyssa to federal agents at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. The Miss Alyssa was initially discovered in the West Caribbean by the Cutter Dauntless, whose boarding team was relieved after an extensive search by the boarding team from Forward, leading to the discovery of a hidden compartment. Read more in the original article, here.

San Diego CG Medevacs Cruise Ship Passenger

Alright, so this really isn't exciting news in the Coast Guard world, this is what we do everyday. This one was noteworthy, however, because it was a good friend's first SAR case as a Pilot in Command of the MH-60 Jayhawk. Congratulations, Vince! You've been working hard to get here, and it's great to see it paying off!

Video may be viewed here.

Rockland Hopeful to be 9th "Coast Guard City"

Rockland, Maine is home to two nearby Coast Guard units, and is hoping to become the 9th city to be designated a "Coast Guard City" by the Commandant. Current Coast Guard cities are Grand Haven, Michigan; Eureka, California; Mobile, Alabama; Morgan City, Louisiana; Wilmington, North Carolina; Newport, Oregon; Alameda, California and Kodiak, Alaska.

UPDATE (3/17/08): Apparently Rockland is one step closer to becoming the 9th "Coast Guard City." According to the AP, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins announced Friday that the request was approved by Coast Adm. Thad Allen.

Marines' Adopted Puppies Arrive in San Diego

You all know I have a soft spot for dogs. While deployed to Kuwait, like so many other soldiers, sailors, and Marines, I adopted a local dog and tried to help keep it healthy. It was heart-breaking to come home and leave Wardog behind (picture to be posted soon), so it always brightens my day to hear of stories like this. Images of the dogs coming home, and time spent with their new "parents" in Iraq, are here.

UPDATE: Me and Wardog Too

Missionized C-130J Accepted From Lockheed

Now all you Deepwater haters have a lot of negative things to say about Lockheed Martin, and while I agree with much of what is said, I have to stand by them on one system: the C-130. Those of you that know me, know that this is one of my favorite aircraft of all time, and with good reason. Given the amount of cargo it has moved in its career (a long one! Consider the milestones:

  • August 23, 1954 - Maiden Flight of prototype
  • 1964 - First flight of HC-130 variant (accepted by USAF and USCG)
  • 2007 - Acceptance of HC-130J "Super Hercules" for missionization
A good write-up on the new aircraft's capabilities and systems was posted on

The C-130 is a remarkable aircraft (one I wish I could fly), and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the new model will perform as well as its predecessors.

To put to rest any rumors that I don't have ADD...look at this picture and tell me it doesn't look like a surprised Basset Hound:

(for the ADD-impaired, big black nose, wings sticking out like ears, smile visible above the nose gear...come on!! Maybe I watched too many Disney movies as a kid or something...)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cape May CC Charged with Sexual Assault

Following the Cadet Webster Smith fiasco, it is disappointing to see another Sexual Assault case arising in the Coast Guard, which historically has had lower reported numbers of assault cases than all other branches of the Armed Forces. A First Class Gunner's Mate serving as a Company Commander at Cape May has been "charged with forcible sodomy and abusive sexual contact with one of his recruits" according to the article.

Coast Guard Finally Launches "Reality" Ad Campaign

A report today in AdWeek mentions the launch of a new Coast Guard ad campaign, aimed at showing the "real" side of the Coast Guard. The Ads (2 so far) are 30 seconds each and feature footage from actual Coast Guard SAR operations.

A highlight of the report: According to Coast Guard Capt. David Vanderplas, " Coast Guard recruits tend to be more educated and older than other members of the service branches"

The ads are soon to be posted on

It will be interesting to see what the focus of new ad campaigns will be. With the increase in Homeland Security missions, recruiting with old SAR footage seems to be inviting recruits with the "no guns for me" mentality that became a real issue immediately following 9/11.

Trading out the NSC for OPC?

From David Axe at Wired News: NSC Problems May Lead to Increase in OPCs

HU-25B Declares Emergency at Purdue University Airport

Just came off the Feeds: Faulty Gear Indicator Causes Emergency Landing

Looking For A Good, Solid Boat? Look No Further!

With the new small boats entering service lately, I've often wondered what it would take to get one of those 41' UTBs that the Coast Guard is starting to retire. For anyone else wondering, Headquarters has provided some feedback:

Disposal of excess Government property is governed by a very strict process that ensures the property is put to the best possible use and the Government is fairly compensated for it. No one in the Coast Guard, at any level, can promise or arrange for disposal of a boat without going through this process. All requests for retired 41 UTB's (or any other Coast Guard vessel) shall be directed to:

Mr. Jeff Beach
Decommissioned Boat Manager
Internal Controls and Asset Management Division (CG-842) U.S. Coast Guard
Headquarters 2100 Second Street, SW Washington, DC 20593-0001

NOTE: This information provided on the USCG Acquisition Directorate's Small Boats Program website.

Response Boat - Medium

For all those boys in blue who haven't seen much on the newest piece of hardware the Coast Guard is acquiring, I have some good news for you. The Response Boat - Medium project has been in full swing for some time now, but news of the status has been hard to come by. The Deepwater project office...ahem the "Coast Guard Acquisitions Directorate" has posted a new site lauding the capabilities of this new boat, and as a Boat Monkey, I have to say...Me Likey! The general specifications:

Characteristics of the 45' RB-M

Length, Overall 44ft 10.5in
Beam, Overall 14ft 7.75in
Operational Draft
(Full Load)
3ft 4in
Navigational Clearance 13ft 1in (max) lowered
20ft 8.25in (max) raised
Top Speed 42.5 knots
Cruise Speed 30 knots (calm water)
Range Full Load Condition at 30 kts 250 nautical miles w/ 10% fuel reserve
Towing Capacity
(LT - Displacement)
100 long tons
Weight in Hoisting Condition 40,000 lbs (max)

I've served on a lot of different boats and ships in our fair Service, but I have never seen anything as mean and capable as this boat. Wait, let me take a step back. I do have to tip my hat to the 47' MLB and it's predecessors (52', 44', 36', etc). The 47' MLB is an outstanding platform and well-suited to the environment it is designed to accommodate. The CG also has a pretty solid reputation for building solid vessels (the 210' Reliance Class is a good example). Considering the typical pitfalls of how the Coast Guard buys equipment that it does not build on its own (and the current Deepwater doo doo not withstanding), this is a very well-constructed boat. Without getting behind the helm and actually test-driving it, I can't say that it will live up to the expectations, but it does look promising.

The Acquisition Directorate's web site can be found here, and the 3-D walk-through can be seen here.

A Promise

Alright. So I'm officially here, in the Blogosphere. I haven't posted any useful information (if any at all) since creating my little corner of the web, most likely due to a lack of sleep borne of working the night shift, and several months spent with the Marines in Iraq.

I've been spending a lot of time over on and would highly recommend it to anyone following the current state of the United States Coast Guard. For those of you who know me, you probably know my move to open my own little corner of the Web is most likely due to reading the comments of Lt. Eric Shine, USNR. I have realized that through open blogging, increased transparency and reporting on the state of affairs of the USCG from the deck-plate level, valid defenses to the accusations of some individuals can be provided; as well as open documentation of the shortcomings of my beloved Service. I am a Coastie, and my love of service, in-depth knowledge of Coast Guard history and interest in the maritime affairs has led me here.

All government organizations have their mistakes, shortcomings, and scandals. The Coast Guard is no exception. However, those who would choose to attack the CG as an organization should bear in mind that it is not alone in making mistakes. Nobody, and no organization is perfect.

More to follow. Semper Paratus.