In the world of emergency response, one can accurately infer that strong working relationships among all involved parties are crucial to mission success. The Coast Guard, being one of the nation’s top emergency response organizations, works with local agencies throughout the country every day in search and rescue operations, law enforcement cases and even environmental protection missions to ensure the preservation of lives, protection of property and national security, and the conservation of ecosystems and endangered species.
For Coast Guardsmen engaged in an active search for people in distress, who may be on the verge of panic, fright or worse, they have to be cool and calm, regardless of the state of seas, the boat or their own mind. Response crews must be ready and capable to take the helm of a Coast Guard boat and pilot it home, even the newest members.
A Coast Guard flight mechanic, among many other navigational and mechanical responsibilities, is the person who operates the helicopter hoist. The hoist controls the cable that lowers equipment and people to and from a helicopter. The flight mechanic controls the hoist while simultaneously relaying commands to the helicopter pilot who is not able to see what is directly below the aircraft.
It was a cold, windy and snowy morning on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A fierce winter storm had blown through the night before and entire towns were shut down because of the conditions. Emergencies don’t wait for the weather to clear, however, and a medical patient at The Outer Banks Hospital needed care beyond what could be provided. With roads swathed in snow, the only way to get out was by air; Air Station Elizabeth City, that is.
With sure hands on the throttle and helm, and an eye toward the sea and an on their crew, Coast Guard surfmen are considered the service’s most skilled coxswains and members of an elite community. They are boatswain’s mates – each individually numbered – that undertake immense responsibility in training others to operate safely in some of the most dangerous conditions imaginable.
The same NOAA satellites that helped forecasters predict severe weather, like the Moore, Okla., tornado last May and November’s deadly Midwest tornado outbreak, also played a key role in rescuing 261 people from potentially life-threatening scenarios throughout the United States and its surrounding waters last year.
Refuels with a U.S. Navy missile destroyer, a vessel in distress 300 miles off the coast and heroic aircrews – yesterday’s rescue by Air Station Elizabeth City had it all! The mission began when it was reported that a 42-foot sailboat had become disabled and was adrift during its transit from New York to the British Virgin Islands. Watchstanders at the 5th Coast Guard District determined that responding with a Coast Guard cutter was not feasible due to the distance offshore. Watchstanders then contacted U.S. Fleet Forces requesting a Navy vessel to assist the Coast Guard in their response. The USS Ross, a 505-foot guided missile destroyer, diverted course to provide a refueling platform for a Coast Guard helicopter.
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is responding to a Jan. 3rd request from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, AMSA, to assist the Russian-Flagged Akademik Shokalskiy and Chinese-Flagged Xue Long that are reportedly ice-bound in the Antarctic. The Russian and Chinese Governments have also requested assistance from the United States.
During the holiday season, families across the nation come together to celebrate. From singing carols to opening presents, each family commemorates the holidays with their own special traditions. The duty crew at Air Station Atlantic City celebrated one of the finest Coast Guard traditions this Christmas Eve – the tradition of saving lives.
It’s anticipated that a Coast Guardsman may save a life, but it’s rarely expected that it will be that of another Coast Guardsman. But that is what Coast Guard Seaman Stacy Sasser—just four months out of basic training—found herself doing on the morning of Dec. 2, 2013.