A member of the Coast Guard Cutter William Flores crew salutes the Cutter Blackthorn Memorial. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

Remembering Blackthorn

Commissioned in 1944, Blackthorn began her service as a seagoing buoy tender, served as a Great Lakes ice breaker, and soon afterwards patrolled the warmer waters off California, eventually serving Gulf ports in Galveston, Texas, and Mobile, Ala. Refurbishment brought the ship to Tampa Bay for her final, fateful voyage. Today, Blackthorn’s legacy lives on.


Once in a decade challenge

The operations the Coast Guard performs in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos – or OPBAT – are demanding and critical in halting drug and migrant smuggling activity. So when something unexpected happens, the crew must pull together to remedy any situation that comes their way. This is exactly what Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater crewmembers did when they were forced to perform a precautionary landing on the southern shore of Mayaguana Island, Bahamas, just three feet from the waters edge.


Shipmate of the Week – OS1 Ronnie Leavell, OS2 Will Lengyel and OS3 Brittany Doss

A line of strong thunderstorms moved through west Florida in late September, bringing with it 45-knot winds and heavy downpours that significantly reduced visibility. Although command center watchstanders issued marine information broadcast, the storm caught many boaters off guard. Phones rang off the hook and radios blared with transmissions from distressed boaters. By storm’s end the watch team responded to the highest volume of distress calls in the sector’s history, answering more than 60 reports of distress. It was a night of remarkable dedication to duty by watchstanders at St. Petersburg; it was a night they dubbed SARmageddon.

SN McLaughlin

Shipmate of the Week – SN Darren McLaughlin

“I was doing my job;” the words of Seaman Darren McLaughlin after he spotted four survivors clinging to debris in the water for more than a dozen hours. The rescue mission all started when the Coast Guard received report that a good Samaritan sailing vessel was on scene with a 50-foot fishing vessel which had become engulfed in flames and was partially submerged. The Coast Guard diverted multiple surface and air assets, including the Confidence, to the location to search for any survivors.

Illuminated rescue

‘We’ll get you out of here as quick as we can’

EPIRB isn’t just a meaningless acronym; these five simple letters save lives. Short for emergency position-indicating radio beacon, an EPIRB is a device designed to transmit a distress signal when someone is in trouble. Last week, that “someone” was three fishermen adrift for 30 hours without food and water.