Behind the scenes of devastation: Coast Guard men and women go to extraordinary lengths to aid response and recovery

Whenever disaster hits, Coast Guard operators worked tirelessly on the frontlines to respond to those affected – and behind the scenes, the men and women of Coast Guard Mission Support worked to ensure resources were available at the speed of need. Learn more about their slightly less visible but just as vital role!

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As the 2019 hurricane season begins, disaster responses of past seasons is fresh on the minds of those who have aided in recovery efforts. In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria struck the continental United States and its territories in rapid succession leaving damage and devastation of historic proportion. During the fall of 2018, wildfires displaced Coast Guard personnel in California; Hurricane Florence swamped the Eastern seaboard with over 35 inches of rain in North Carolina; Hurricane Olivia brought torrential rains to Hawaii; Typhoon Mangkhut battered Guam with Category 2 force winds, and Hurricane Michael struck as Category 4 hurricane, making it the strongest ever to make landfall on the Florida panhandle.

Throughout all these disasters, Coast Guard operators worked tirelessly on the frontlines to respond to those affected. Behind the scenes, the men and women of Coast Guard Mission Support worked to ensure resources were available at the speed of need. 

The Director of Operational Logistics (DOL) coordinates the logistical efforts involved in the work of the Coast Guard. In the 2017 and 2018 hurricane seasons, DOL led efforts to deliver unprecedented amounts of resources and services, to include the following:

  • DOL partnered with the USCG Office of Energy Management and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) on innovative solutions to supply millions of gallons of fuel to Coast Guard aircraft flying hundreds of search and rescue missions.
  • DOL dispatched portable emergency generators and thousands of cases of water, food, blankets, cots, and personal protective equipment, to sustain hundreds of Coast Guard responders without power and provisions.  
  • To rapidly and safely re-establish operations and communications at storm damaged Coast Guard units, DOL deployed teams of engineers, emergency repair technicians and safety and health experts to identify the damage and unsafe conditions, prioritize work lists, make temporary repairs and restore power.
  • DOL deployed four vessel support teams to perform emergency maintenance and repairs to the Coast Guard’s buoy tenders and response boats to prevent mechanical breakdowns as they cleared the nation’s waterways and re-opened vital commercial shipping lanes for security and commerce.
  • DOL compensated for gaps in medical care for Coast Guard Personnel resulting from damaged medical facilities and post-storm shortages in medical supplies by ordering two Mobile Medical Units to the affected areas.

DCMS DOL Hurricane Blog Graphic

To recognize these exemplary efforts during recent hurricane seasons, VADM Michael McAllister, Deputy Commandant for Mission Support, presented DOL with a Coast Guard Unit Commendation, the highest peacetime unit award. Having resources in the right place at the right time is critical to Coast Guard operations. As the Coast Guard prepares for what’s next, DOL is a key player in the equation. 

The Mission Support organization delivers the systems and people that enable the Coast Guard to efficiently and effectively perform its operational missions. The organization supporting Coast Guard operators in both planned and emergency situations by focusing on responsiveness, integration of our services, and innovation in support. The men and women of Mission Support are committed to delivering the best possible systems and people to execute operational missions and ensure the Coast Guard remains Semper Paratus, Always Ready. #USCGMissionSupport

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