Earlier today, the Department of Homeland Security updated the National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, a tool designed to communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the American public. As part of the Coast Guard’s commitment to unit readiness, we are informing you of the change to the NTAS system and providing our readers with the opportunity to add an NTAS widget to your own websites to keep your workforce and neighbors informed of potential threats.
Author: Christopher Lagan
Earlier today, the Department of Homeland Security updated the National Terrorism Advisory System, or NTAS, a tool designed to communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the American public. As part of the Coast Guard’s commitment to the security of America’s waterways, we are informing you of the change to the NTAS system and providing our readers with the opportunity to add an NTAS widget to your own websites to keep friends, family and neighbors informed of potential threats.
On Wednesday night, Comedy Central aired the season premiere of a show called Workaholics. The show featured a storyline in which a group of characters meant to be Coast Guard recruiters were depicted in a vile hazing incident which included both an illegal criminal act of sexual assault and the involvement of a dog. The show went on to include a scene in which these same characters agreed to take part in a pornographic movie.
“Our crew used their unique capabilities and authorities as a military service, law enforcement agency, and member of the U.S. intelligence community to disrupt transnational organized crime networks in the Eastern Pacific and keep drugs from making it to the U.S.,” said Capt. Edward A. Westfall, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell. “These illegal drug networks are dangerous breeding grounds for all types of trafficking and their immense profits fuel violence and instability.”
A hero doesn’t always wear a cape and save the day. Some heroes simply dedicate their lives to their jobs and answer the call to put another’s safety and well being before their own. They make a conscious choice to think of others first and when tested, bravely and selflessly arise to the occasion. These actions are what make a hero.
When I hear about far-flung Coast Guard duty stations, I can’t help but think about what they are like and whether I would like to live there. Guam is one of those places. I know it can’t be easy to live there, but the pictures of beaches and palm trees, and the proximity to exotic travel destinations sound appealing. Every duty station carries with it frustrations and benefits, and everyone has some sort of advice for those who come after them.
The U.S. Coast Guard Western Hemisphere Strategy is built around three priorities, combating networks, securing borders and safeguarding commerce. To meet these priorities, the strategy emphasizes the critical importance of offshore vessel and aircraft presence to support effective governance and sovereignty, as well as other concepts to ensure long-term success. That long-term vision relies heavily upon the ongoing acqusition of national security cutters and fast response cutters and future acquisition of offshore patrol cutters by the service but also requires us to lean heavily on an aging medium endurance cutter fleet made up of 210-foot and 270-foot cutters, some of which have been operational for as many as 45 years.
Douglas Munro is more than a service-wide exam study topic. You see, my dad was a Coast Guard chief back in the 70’s. Back then, with people serving only a few decades after the end of World War II, they were much more connected to that part of our history. But, it seems that that’s something we have largely let go of. Granted, there are some history buffs out there and many leaders who pass along that desire to preserve our heritage. So, that’s my call to action to leaders at all levels: if you aren’t doing so already, talk to your crew, your office or your unit about our service’s heroes. Whether you graduated from boot camp or from the Academy, you learned Munro’s story. I challenge you to build upon that foundation of knowledge.
Ask any Coast Guard man or woman and any Marine about Douglas Munro and you will instantly be taken back to the fateful day in 1942 when a Coast Guardsman gave his life so a detachment of Marines might live. To a woman or man, each will recite Munro’s last words to his best friend, Ray Evans, “Did they get off?” In many ways, Munro’s sacrifice is at the very core of the close relationship between the two services. And, all who hear Munro’s story instantly understand the bond between American brothers and sisters in arms and the true meaning of service to nation.
“All in all, it was just a great experience and most of all a learning experience and understanding how important it is for unit cohesion, for discipline, for the sense of integrity. All of those things were pounded home and I think they stuck with me really all of my career.”