Written by Ens. Phil Constantino, Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay.
Coast Guard men and women train tirelessly every day to be ready for any situation that could be handed to them. Sometimes they face intense trials. Other times, they deal with routine operations. Regardless of the circumstances though, each person has to be ready to spring into action for any event they may face.
March 16, 2011, after a long day of drills and training, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay was finally about to anchor for the night in lower Lake Huron. We were almost at their anchorage when Petty Officer 2nd Class Mark Lauters noticed something strange. He called for a spotlight and quickly notified the bridge that there was a dog wandering around on the ice. It is not uncommon to see wild animals crossing the frozen rivers between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. But this situation proved to be different. We were more than three miles offshore in the Lake Huron Cut channel. Also, with the recent rise in spring temperatures, the ice was melting rapidly. Quickly taking these factors into account, the Bristol Bay’s commanding officer, Lt. Cmdr. Matt ten Berge, ordered the crew to set the ice rescue bill to retrieve the animal.