A Day Underway on CGC Juniper

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Today, two great outreach events occurred onboard CGC Juniper. The cutter, homeported in Newport, Rhode Island, held its annual Navy League Long Island Council cruise and hosted an artist from the Coast Guard Art Program.

The annual Navy League Long Island Council cruise onboard the Juniper is a, “chance to show the members the various missions of the CG,” according to the Council’s President, Tom Matteo. The Long Island Council adopted the CGC Juniper, which means the Council support’s the crew whenever possible including helping them out with the morale fund for holiday parties or family issues. Adopting ships is just one way the Navy League Council supports the maritime services. The League also seeks to educate the public and elected officials on the needs of the maritime services.

Today, the almost 95 members embarked the cutter at Port Jefferson, New York and crossed Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, Connecticut to work on navigational aids. LCDR Ray Tomich, USNR(ret) and current Chaplain for the Smith-Wever American Legion Post 651, escorted Auxiliarist Charles Baack aboard for the day. Mr. Baack has been a Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer for over 40 years in Sayville Flotilla 1-7. According to Mr. Tomich, Mr. Baack is “90 years young.” He added, “Charlie is the Old Man of the Sea, a fixture at Station Fire Island standing watch, orienting new Coasties and patrolling the Great South Bay as Coxswain aboard his Operational Facility.” Mr. Baack has been a fixture in Flotilla 1-7 since its charter was first signed in 1978. He was the first Vice Commander and has been a strong leader and advocate for the Auxiliary ever since.

Along with the Navy League members, the cutter also hosted an artist from the Coast Guard Art Program (COGAP). The artist will take photographs and draw sketches of the crew working on aids to navigation with the goal of capturing female service members in action. The Juniper has five permanent female members and one temporarily assigned Coast Guard Academy cadet out of a total of 45 crewmembers. During today’s cruise, several of these females were working on the navigational aids alongside other crewmembers.

The artist deployments are new to COGAP. The program only formally started the deployments last year, providing six artists the opportunity. This year’s goal is to reach eight deployments. According to Mary Ann Bader, the COGAP Coordinator, “It is an opportunity to send talented artists to capture and depict scenes of missions underrepresented in the art collection.” All of the art is donated by the volunteer artists as a contribution to the Coast Guard and, by extension, to the American public.

Bravo Zulu to the CGC Juniper for supporting community outreach events, demonstrating the missions of the U.S. Coast Guard and illustrating the work of the service’s men and women.

2 comments on “A Day Underway on CGC Juniper”

  1. We all enjoyed the hospitality of the crew of Juniper during our annual Navy League trip 07.21.2009. My friend Charlie Baack reminded me he is 93 years young and wanted to thank Cdr Rick Wester for his Juniper Cap and especially for the warm reception he received from all hands on board.

    My grandson Christopher is conflicted since I had him thinking ‘Go Navy’ after our trip to Annapolis but now he tells me he’s thinking ‘Coast Guard’ now. Actually I hope he checks our the fine Naval Sea Cadet Program we learned about from Lcdr Rick Aimeh CO of the USS New York (LPD-21) Division.

    Thanks Captain Wester for your service to our nation and for leading the way for all of us.

    Lcdr. Raphael Tomich USNR(ret)
    Christopher’s Pop & Charlie’s Friend

  2. Today’s deployment was a fascinating, refreshing, and extrordinary voyage. I got to the dock in very good time, though the security guard at the front gate of the power plant wasn’t letting anyone drive in. So the other visitors and I parked down the road. The Juniper was about an hour or so behind schedule, but that gave me the change to chat with some of my fellow guests.
    > > The weather was gray and very rainy. At first I cursed my bad luck, but as I got to work, I saw that I was not there to gather material for a sunny seascape. I was working toward a piece that would capture female crew members working at the difficult and complicated job of buoy maintenance. The rain actually added something to this theme, emphasizing the inclement conditions crew members had to sometimes work in. I saw that I was working toward a portrait. Portraits can be approached in different ways, depending on what the artist wants to evoke from the subject and the viewer. In some of the photos I took (it was altogether too soggy to sketch) I saw in one of the female crew members working on the buoys a confidence, competence, determination, strength, and character that, if I’m able to capture it, will depict those virtues that make the U.S. Coast Guard personnel so outstanding.
    > > I had a great time as well speaking with Cmdr. Westen and Ens. Belanger and some other crew members and getting to know more about the Coast Guard and its missions and duties.
    > > After all that it was a good evening for a chicken stew.
    > > I’ll be very happy to lend my services to the U.S. Coast Guard on future deployments.
    I’ll get busy cobbling together a painting as soon as possible.

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