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.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Women of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy

HERstories are stories presented from a female’s viewpoint with special attention to the experience of women. The women presented in this blog exemplify the Coast Guard’s values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty. These women share their HERstories of challenges, successes and initiatives as female in the Coast Guard.


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.


Coast Guard Lt. Ronaqua Russell flies an Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 in support of Hurricane Maria response efforts in October 2018. Photo courtesy of Lt. Ronaqua Russell.

Making history in the sky

Lt. Ronaqua Russell recently became the first African-American female aviator in the Coast Guard receive the Air Medal in honor of her heroic actions in response to Hurricane Harvey, one of the most destructive storms in U.S. history. She was honored in a ceremony at Tuskegee’s Moton Field where, 77 years ago, the first African-American aviators in the U.S. Armed Services broke down racial barriers to earn their wings, and later go on to fly several heroic and critical combat missions in World War II.


Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Lt. David Irving, Cutter Bertholf’s physician assistant keeps crew “Semper Paratus”

There are a few things Coast Guard planners can count on when putting together a ship’s deployment to some of the most remote areas of the globe.

Things on the ship will break, plans will change – and there’s at least a chance someone will get hurt. It’s that last factor that concerns people like Lt. David Irving, a Coast Guard physician assistant aboard U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750).


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.


Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz congratulates Mr. Albert Curry, Jr., Deputy Assistant Commandant for the Engineering and Logistics, during the 14th Annual Stars and stripes event in Washington, D.C., Feb. 8, 2019. The event honors members who have served with distinction supporting the Service’s efforts in mentorship, diversity, and value-based service to the Nation, and provides an opportunity for military and defense leaders in the STEM to increase interest in and passion for STEM. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jetta Disco.

U.S. Coast Guard “At the Intersection of America’s Future”

The Coast Guard stood at the “Intersection of America’s Future” in early February to honor several awardees of the Black Engineer of the Year Award ceremony. The conference brought together 12,000 STEM professionals from across the nation to inspire young Americans to pursue an engineering education and to recognize the achievements of senior military leaders within the STEM professions.


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