In the spring of 1942, 22-year-old Joseph Tezanos, a factory worker and Spanish immigrant, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. His life would change forever. By the end of the decade, Tezanos would be a highly decorated war hero, a survivor of one of World War II’s worst accidental disasters, and one of the first Hispanic American officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. Tezanos’ story is the American dream realized.
Sailing the Bering Sea is tough duty but these treacherous Alaskan waters are a day-to-day reality aboard Coast Guard Cutter SPAR, homeported in Kodiak, Alaska. As the crew carries out it’s role as “The Aleutian Keeper,” they often turns to “Q” – Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Quintana. As independent duty corpsman, Quintana is the only medical professional aboard. He is responsible for a myriad of duties including daily sickbay visits, vaccinations, monitoring crew medical readiness, conducting mandatory medical training, overseeing medical drills and enforcing sanitation standards.
For many, the fall season means cooling temperatures, leaves turning and all things pumpkin. But for the men and women of Air Station Kodiak, the fall is all about the cold, Cold Bay to be exact. Kodiak stood up a seasonal forward operating location in Cold Bay, Alaska, in advance of winter fisheries with one MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and rotating crews. A second helicopter and crew will remain at the ready in Kodiak to assist in any long-range or complex cases.
The last MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew forward deployed to Cordova, Alaska, for the summer season returned to its home base of Kodiak closing out a season of lifesaving. Throughout the deployment, which started May 1, 2013, aircrews out of forward operating location Cordova flew on 26 cases, saved 11 and assisted 18.
Coast Guard Cutter SPAR is a sea-going buoy tender that sails the waters of the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea. The patrols are long, the work is hard and the days are cold. Keeping the crew motivated, not to mention their stomach’s full, is Petty Officer 1st Class Brittany Smith.
For 40 consecutive years Lois Bouton has written letters to Coast Guard men and women, earning her the nickname the Coast Guard Lady. Bouton, a native of Lake County, Ill., and current resident of Rogers, Ark., reported to boot camp Sept. 3, 1943 at the Biltmore Hotel in Palm Springs, Fla. After a month of basic training, she then spent five months in radioman school in Atlantic City, N.J., where she learned to translate Morse code.
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp spent last week in Alaska, underscoring the importance of establishing and maintaining a range of Arctic partnerships. “We cannot do this alone,” said the Commandant. “It requires a collaborative network of domestic and international partners, drawing upon their cumulative authorities, capabilities and experience.”
It’s Friday but a Week in the Life of the Coast Guard continues! Friday’s action includes helicopter training, a visit to Juneau, Alaska, from the Polar Star and the disruption of a maritime smuggling attempt off the coast of California.
Since 1790 the Coast Guard has safeguarded our nation’s maritime interests, providing a 24/7 presence along America’s rivers, ports, coastline and on the high seas. But while the Coast Guard’s presence and impact is regional, national and international, our operations are often out of sight. Until now.
With a stifling heat wave affecting most of the country last week, it’s hard to picture U.S. Coast Guard units focusing on our nation’s Arctic interests. But for a dedicated group of Coast Guard men and women, the Arctic is all that is on their mind. As the nation’s lead federal agency for ensuring maritime safety and security in the Arctic, the Coast Guard will perform its statutory missions to ensure the Arctic remains a safe, secure and environmentally protected region.