“What greater mission is there than saving lives?” This is exactly the thought Auxiliarist Jacob Thayer has when he thinks about the Coast Guard and why he decided to become a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
To say that the North Shore of Alaska is a remote place is an understatement. The North Shore borders the Chukchi Sea and the Beaufort Sea, two marginal seas of the Arctic Ocean. Even in the middle of July, the waters in the area are still icy with large ice flows in many areas. It is not hard to see that conducting search and rescue, one of the Coast Guard’s core missions in the area, presents unusual challenges.
In 1915, the ‘Act to Create the U.S. Coast Guard’ was signed, merging the Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life Saving Service to form the modern-day Coast Guard. The merging of these two organizations formed a service whose unique capabilities would prove to be invaluable just six month later on the Great Lakes.
Each and every day, the Coast Guard combats the illicit drug trade in a six-million square mile area, including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Eastern Pacific. In addition to deterrence, Coast Guard drug interdiction accounts for nearly 52% of all U.S. government seizures of cocaine each 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 technology has changed over the years but not the mission: to safeguard the Nation’s waterways and the ships, craft and personnel that ply those waters, maintaining the nation’s economy by supporting, guiding and protecting the most efficient form of transport we have – our Nation’s waterborne commercial vessels.
The goal is for each cadet to leave the Eagle with their basic damage control qualification, a qualification that will follow them throughout their career, saving time and potentially saving lives. “Early in their careers they may have to coordinate and direct the efforts to fight a fire,” said Chief Petty Officer Max Hermes, and his crew is working hard to prepare all of the cadets for the future.
As the Nation’s environmental and Homeland Security priorities continue to evolve, the Coast Guard’s living marine resources mission will continue to evolve in order to meet shifting demands. Throughout all the changes, however, one thing will remain certain: the Coast Guard will remain ‘Semper Paratus’ to ensure safety, security and stewardship- protecting life, not only at sea, but within the sea as well.
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.
While every Coast Guard mission makes a difference, some truly leave a legacy. Defending the high seas from the abuses of illegal and indiscriminate fishing has a global impact that ripples far into the future, ensuring stability and sustenance for generations to come.