On June 9, Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma was moored in San Juan, Puerto Rico, while on a routine patrol. Four crewmembers headed to a local beach to relax and spend some time away from the cutter. While there, they noticed a couple – Taylor and Laura Ford – trapped in a strong rip current. Recognizing the beach had no lifeguards on duty, Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Barsness, a gunner’s mate, sprang into action. Taylor Ford was near drowning when Barsness reached him. Barsness was able to pull Ford from the water, calming him and waiting by his side until medical assistance arrived.
Four years ago, Roxanne Watson lay in a critical care unit, awaiting a heart transplant she never thought would come. Watson had already been told three times they had found a match. When they came to her a fourth time, she remained skeptical. To avoid getting her hopes up, she told her heart transplant coordinator to call her when they found a heart. That call came on the night of July 15, 2010.
At some point in everyone’s life, they think to themselves ‘If I can find a job I truly love, I will never have to work a day in my life.’ For Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristle Lopez, this is a thought that shaped her entire future. “Being in the military and serving my country is in my blood,” Lopez said.
It’s not every day that a Coast Guard member finds themselves conducting cyber operations overseas, but that is exactly what Lt. Cmdr. Sean Plankey did while serving a 7-month tour in Afghanistan. After completing his masters in the C4IT advanced education program at University of Pennsylvania, Plankey was assigned to U.S. Cyber Command in Ft. Meade, Maryland as the Weapons and Tactics Branch chief. From this position, a unique opportunity presented itself: provide all offensive cyberspace operations in direct support of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and subordinate units.
Behind the helm of a small boat, on the bridge of a cutter or at the controls of an aircraft is a skilled member of the United States Coast Guard. Whether patrolling the high seas or standing watch ashore, Coast Guard men and women are the heart of operations; their diverse talents and backgrounds enable mission success.
Originally founded in 1849 by the New York Lifesaving Benevolent Association, Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck, N.Y., is the oldest Coast Guard Station in New York and the fourth oldest in the United States. The Eatons Neck Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse on Long Island and the sixth oldest in the United States. The first known keeper to the lighthouse was Darius Ruland, who was appointed at the age of 49 on September 14, 1876. Since then, many noteworthy Coast Guard members have contributed to the station’s success as a beacon of hope for boaters in distress. Continuing the traditions of great light keepers and notable local heros like Petty Officer Nathan Bruckenthal is Petty Officer 2nd Class Jovan Morales.
The United States Coast Guard Academy renewed a longstanding tradition Monday, June 30, as 256 U.S. cadets and seven international cadets took part in Reporting-in Day. Newly minted swabs cycled through drill training, uniform issue and a bevy of administrative procedures before filing into the companies to which they’d been assigned for Swab Summer. After a whirlwind day of administration and military indoctrination, the swabs took their oath before family, friends, and Academy personnel, officially marking the start of Swab Summer.
The name Douglas Munro is steeped in honor and history. Munro, the first and only Coast Guard member to receive the Medal of Honor, displayed all the characteristics of a great leader: leadership skills which inspire and motive others, selfless devotion to service, commitment to the development of others, and countless more. Munro’s efforts transcend time and place. It is only fitting, then, that the Coast Guard honors his namesake with an award given to those who embody Munro’s leadership skills and professional competence – the Douglas A. Munro Inspirational Leadership Award. The award recognizes a Coast Guard enlisted member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and professional competence to the extent of their rank and rate. The most recent recipient of the award, Chief Petty Officer Erin Simone, has done all this and more.
Most Coast Guard men and women who choose the food service specialist rating do so because they love to cook. For Petty Officer 3rd Class Amy Edwards, it was more than just a love of cooking that impacted the route she took. After completing basic training, Edwards was stationed at Coast Guard Station Destin, Fla. As she learned about the different rates the Coast Guard offered, it was the creativity and rewarding work of the unit’s food service specialists that impressed her most.
Rep. Howard Coble will soon retire after this term in Congress. He is the last Coast Guard veteran currently serving in Congress. Reminiscing on both his service in the Coast Guard and as a member of Congress, the one thing he wishes Americans would do is fully support the service.