The Journalist rating

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Journalist rating, a predecessor rating of the current Public Affairs Specialist rating. Today there are approximately 76 Public Affairs Specialists on active duty who manage the Coast Guard’s day-to-day external communications and deploy to major incidents to conduct public information campaigns.


Photo of the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, also known as Two Lights, near Portland, Maine. (Wikipedia)

The Long Blue Line: Hanna – the service’s forgotten Medal of Honor hero

Many with knowledge of service history believe Guadalcanal hero Douglas Munro was the Coast Guard’s first and only recipient of the Medal of Honor. Technically, they would be wrong. In fact, Lighthouse Keeper Marcus Aurelius Hanna also received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military’s highest recognition for combat heroism.


Picture of the medium endurance cutter Diligence VI landing an HH-52 helicopter in the late-20th century. (U.S. Coast Guard)

The Long Blue Line: Diligence – historic cutter, OPC namesake

Coast Guard Cutter Diligence, also known as “Dillie Devils,” “Dili-O” and “The Dog,” has served this nation since its commissioning in 1964. This is the sixth vessel in service history to bear the unique distinction of “Diligence” and not the last. The Coast Guard will soon build the “Heritage”-Class of 360-foot Offshore Patrol Cutters with Diligence as the 10th in the first flight of OPCs.


A wreath to honor five Coast Guard members who lost their lives 87-year ago is prepared before a memorial service held by Coast Guard Station Atlantic City members at the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City, New Jersey on March 6, 2019. On March 6, 1932, five members of Coast Guard Lifeboat Station Atlantic City attempted to search for a missing fishing boat in a nor’easter off Atlantic City, which resulted in the death of five crew members. Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Seth Johnson

Coast Guard remembers fallen shipmates in Atlantic City rescue tragedy of 1932

On March 6, 1932, five Coast Guardsmen lost their lives while attempting to assist a fishing boat off the coast of Atlantic City, N.J. The ripples from the tragedy are still felt today as members of Coast Guard Station Atlantic City hold an annual memorial and wreath laying ceremony.

“We hold this memorial annually to remember and honor those who gave their lives in service, and who are part of our proud heritage as lifesavers and as Coast Guard men and women.” – Lt. Taylor Smith


Coast Guard enlisted women aviators – “The Firsts”

The Women in Aviation International Conference is scheduled to be held this week, March 14-16, 2019, in Long Beach, California. Nine Coast Guard female aviators have been nominated to be honored at this conference. This blog highlights the enlisted women aviators who were nominated.


Fishing Vessel Dauntless is seen through the window of the Coast Guard Cutter Staten Island's deployed helicopter. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

You have to go out: The tragic death of Boatswain’s Mate Chief Elias Welch, part 2

In part two, we learn the circumstances around the death of our shipmate Boatswain’s Mate Chief Elias Welch 50 years ago in the Bering Sea. Mishaps are, by their very definition, unplanned and it is easy to sit in safety and harshly judge the actions and motivations of people who didn’t have the luxury of hindsight, especially when those actions took place 50 years ago in a different organizational culture. Welch’s death in the line of duty reminds us of the dangers of hubris, the importance of personal protective equipment, and that the Coast Guard’s modern doctrine of Operational Risk Management has evolved through decades of tragic incidents and sacrifice.


Coast Guard officer women aviators – “The Firsts”

The Women in Aviation International Conference is scheduled to be held this week, March 14-16, 2019, in Long Beach, California. Nine Coast Guard female aviators have been nominated to be honored at this conference. This first blog highlights officer women aviators. Check back tomorrow to learn more about the enlisted aviators who have also been nominated.


You have to go out: The tragic death of Boatswain’s Mate Chief Elias Welch, part 1

Fifty years ago this March, Boatswain’s Mate Chief Elias Welch died off of Akutan Island, Alaska, when his cutter’s boat capsized during an attempt to assist a grounded fishing vessel. The tragic story of his death, unknown except to his shipmates, deserves to be remembered, both as a tribute to his service and as a study in operational risk management and leadership.


Painting of the SS Wellington with Seneca in the background. This response effort is the most honored combat-related rescue in service history. (Coast Guard Collection)

The Long Blue Line: Coxswain James C. Osborn – flawed hero during World War I

He wasn’t perfect but no one can dispute he served as a hero in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War I. James Clarence Osborn served aboard Coast Guard Cutter Seneca where he risked life and limb saving his shipmates while escorting a torpedoed British steamship to the port of Brest, France. He was awarded the Navy Cross Medal and Gold Lifesaving Medal for his bravery but fell into trouble with authorities later in life. Regardless of his troubles, his heroism should not be forgotten.


The Long Blue Line: Lt. Cmdr. Frank Erickson – Coast Guard pioneer of helicopter flight

After witnessing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbo in 1941, Lt. Cmdr. Frank Erickson became convinced helicopters would greatly improve search and rescue capabilities. He might have been described as a zealot but eventually convinced then-Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Russell Waesche to take a chance on using the helicopter as a search and rescue platform. Erickson created a helicopter training program and was the first to conduct a rescue by helicopter in 1943.


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