We know more about the surface of the Moon and Mars than we do about the ocean’s seafloor. With water encompassing 63.78 million square miles, the oceans cover 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, with the world’s largest body of water, the Pacific Ocean, covering roughly one third. The Pacific also boasts the deepest trenches, specifically Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench near the Federated States of Micronesia. Given Challenger Deep’s inhospitable environment, no one has attempted to extensively record ambient sound at its full depth. That is, until now.
It’s not every day that a lava flow threatens Coast Guard operations, but crews operating in Hawaii have been battling the complex issues presented by the recent Kilauea Volcano eruption to ensure equipment remains capable and crews remain Semper Paratus.
Coast Guard cutters Assateague and Sequoia recently returned to Apra Harbor, Guam, after each cutter completed patrols as part of Operation Rai Balang, a regional fisheries operation between the United States, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau and Republic of Marshall Islands. The cutters combined transited more than 7,500 nautical miles over 40 days at sea through the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Island’s exclusive economic zone and surrounding high seas.
Safeguarding marine mammals falls under the Coast Guard’s living marine resources mission, one of the service’s 11 statutory missions. The nation’s waterways and their ecosystems are vital to the country’s economy and health. This includes ensuring the country’s marine protected species are provided the protection necessary to help their populations recover to healthy, sustainable levels.
Coast Guard members display various awards, ribbons and badges they have earned throughout their careers upon their chests. From pilot wings to marine safety pins, the insignia worn on a uniform can tell you a lot about a servicemember’s career. One member, though early in his career, has something rare on his Coast Guard uniform – the coveted Army Air Assault Badge.
Coast Guard aircraft are equipped to drop lifesaving equipment to individuals in distress. Life rafts, radios, emergency rations and medical supplies are the most common, but flexibility in operations is necessary in order to save lives at sea. This weekend, a Coast Guard aircrew flew approximately 1,036 miles to airdrop blood and medical supplies to a cruise ship northeast of the Hawaiian Islands.
Adm. Papp toured the new Australian Customs and Border Protection Service patrol boat Cape St. George, visited Rescue Coordination Center Australia and received detailed briefings from the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Protection Command, a multi-agency task force that directs coordinated maritime governance operations.
The 14th Coast Guard District is charged with protecting and patrolling more than 90,000 miles of coastline. In fact, of the total 3.4 million square nautical miles of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, 43 percent resides within this region. With such a large expanse of ocean to operate in, teamwork is critical in performing the many missions of the U.S. Coast Guard. It was this sense of teamwork and partnership that the two units – cutter and station – joined together.
Drifting for five days 70 miles west of the Pacific atoll of Tarawa, three fishermen ate their last morsels of food and sipped the last drops of water; they were in trouble and they knew it. Suddenly an airplane from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point flew overhead. The fishermen were spotted. This rescue of three fishermen lost in the Pacific may not have happened at all were it not for the staff from Command, Control and Communications Engineering Center and contractors from Applied Science Associates some 7,000 miles away in Portsmouth, Va.
Standing the Hawaiian Islands watch requires a force of on call specialists, always ready for the surge capacity nature of the job. Modern search and rescue methodology has sprinted forward in recent decades, keeping pace with evolving technology. Sometimes a Coast Guardsmen’s best lifesaving tool is not only more than two hundred year of lifesaving tradition, but also products of the digital era.