The Valley Fire, which affected Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties in Northern California, burned more than 76,000 acres and destroyed nearly 2,000 structures throughout the region from Sept. 12 to Oct. 15, 2015, when it became 100 percent contained. The disaster, which forced more than 3,000 people to be immediately evacuated from the region, was ranked as the third worst fire in California history. Along with area firefighters and emergency medical staff, an additional force answered the call for help as the fire raged on – the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Marriages weather a myriad of storms. For Coast Guard couple Chief Warrant Officer Wilfred Thomas and Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Thomas, storms are what bring them together.
Capt. Mike Healy served as one of the sole government representatives in the remote waters of Alaska, introducing missions that the Coast Guard would adopt for future generations.
An already hazardous situation made worse by severe winter weather, Coast Guard Cape Cod CGNR 6033 crew heroically displayed their bravery, ingenuity and grit in the rescue of a father and son aboard an imperiled sailboat earning them The Captain Frank Erickson Award.
During a severe snow storm in Massachusetts in early February, a premature baby was born on Nantucket and was in need of medical care beyond what the island’s hospital could provide. The CGNR 2309 crew of from Air Station Cape Cod pushed the limits to deliver a medical team and neonatal incubator to save the child’s life earning them the Cmdr. Elmer F. Stone award.
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall just outside of New Orleans on Aug. 29, 2005, it marked the beginning of one of the largest search and rescue operations the Coast Guard had ever seen. While the landfall may have marked the end of the storm, it was only just the beginning of a long-term response and recovery effort for the city of New Orleans and the region as a whole.
It was 6:10 a.m., when it came ashore in southeast Louisiana, blowing 125 mph winds and dumping heavy rain. No one could predict just how devastating the strong Category 3 hurricane would be for New Orleans. And no one knew at the time, but the Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Katrina would turn out to be one of the largest search and rescue mission in the nation’s history.
“For me, the entire event was incredibly inspirational,” said Lt. Eric Libner. “The children and families of Camp Sunshine are incredibly brave and strong people. These children are in a daily fight for their lives and being a part of this event was in incredibly easy decision. It was an honor to be a part of this event. To be able to spend the day training with a group of my heroes so that we can raise money for our military families made this an easy choice. I look forward to being a part of another crazy adventure for next year.”
Military leadership is often perceived as those who hold a high rank, part of a command staff, who foster the development of their junior members to one day become leaders themselves. But as with Coast Guardsmen like Petty Officer 2nd Class Noel Cordero, a junior member aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Alex Haley, a good leader can come from any rank.
The Coast Guard began its mission of migrant interdiction on the high-seas in 1794, when the Congress of the United States declared that no American citizen may carry slaves from the U.S. to another nation or between foreign nations. The Coast Guard, through its predecessor the Revenue Cutter Service, was charged with enforcing this law.