Since 1803, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has stood as a sentinel over the windswept shores of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With its distinctive stripes and storied history, it is the tallest lighthouse in the United States and one of the best known Aids to Navigation in the world. While the National Park Service owns the lighthouse, a Coast Guard aids to navigation team continues to maintain the lamp.
Across the nation, more than 48,000 Coast Guard aids to navigation, commonly known as ATON, mark every navigable waterway, identifying navigational hazards and ensuring mariner safety. But what happens when navigational aids are knocked off course by a natural disaster like a hurricane or flood?
In any given day aboard Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell, the crew deploys cutters, aircraft and personnel to engage in operations encompassing a variety of Coast Guard missions through the Bering Strait up the Northern Alaska Outer Continental Shelf. Follow along with the ninth video nominee of this year’s top 10 competition as the San Diego-based cutter completes a patrol as part of Operation Arctic Shield 2015.
It’s never a dull moment at sea for the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton! Get a first-hand look at a drug bust as they interdict illegal smugglers on their recent patrol in the Eastern Pacific.
Drug busts. Environmental responses. Security patrols. Lives saved. These daily operations, like many performed by the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard, largely go unseen by members of the public … until now.
From distant lights on the horizon to information at a navigator’s fingertips, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Aids to Navigation, ATON, systems have evolved over the years to keep up with technological advances and changing navigation requirements.
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.
In a post 9/11 world, the United States’ main law enforcement mission has been national security to keep the public safe from nefarious activity. An integral part of this mission happens on the waters surrounding the U.S.
Forty-seven years ago, Hernandez worked to protect his fellow crewmembers during the height of the Vietnam War. Today and for decades to come, his namesake will do the same: protect the citizens of the United States.
On Thursday’s Week in the Life series, Air Station Los Angeles crews conduct cliff rescue training in Rancho Palos Verde, Calif., boarding team member evaluations in Alexandria Bay, N.Y., advanced culinary training at Fort Lee, Va., an active shooter exercise in Boston and advancement ceremonies at Air Station Detroit.