It was a cold, windy and snowy morning on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A fierce winter storm had blown through the night before and entire towns were shut down because of the conditions. Emergencies don’t wait for the weather to clear, however, and a medical patient at The Outer Banks Hospital needed care beyond what could be provided. With roads swathed in snow, the only way to get out was by air; Air Station Elizabeth City, that is.
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Refuels with a U.S. Navy missile destroyer, a vessel in distress 300 miles off the coast and heroic aircrews – yesterday’s rescue by Air Station Elizabeth City had it all! The mission began when it was reported that a 42-foot sailboat had become disabled and was adrift during its transit from New York to the British Virgin Islands. Watchstanders at the 5th Coast Guard District determined that responding with a Coast Guard cutter was not feasible due to the distance offshore. Watchstanders then contacted U.S. Fleet Forces requesting a Navy vessel to assist the Coast Guard in their response. The USS Ross, a 505-foot guided missile destroyer, diverted course to provide a refueling platform for a Coast Guard helicopter.
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.
Fast-moving storms blew through parts of the Eastern Seaboard last week, whipping maritime communities with heavy rain and high winds. True to form for Coast Guard men and women, the foul weather was no match for the perseverance of Coast Guard crews.
As an aviation maintenance technician, Petty Officer 1st Class Pablo LaGarde keeps a fleet of airplanes equipped to execute demanding missions. Assigned to Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., LaGarde performs a multitude of tasks from metalsmithing and inspections to tire changes and repairs. For LaGarde, Semper Paratus usually involves keeping the Coast Guard airborne. But one summer’s day, LaGarde found himself ready to save a life off duty.
A call came in from cruise ship, 150 miles east of Cape Lookout, N.C. A 50-year-old man suffered a heart attack and needed to get to a hospital. It was operations normal for most; another chance to save a life. However, for one junior petty officer, this case was far from the norm. He would be setting out on his first rescue since earning his spot as the Coast Guard rescue swimmer No. 830.
Chief Petty Officer Karen Voorhees is the first woman to advance to chief petty officer in the rate of aviation survival technician since women were integrated into Coast Guard active duty service in 1973.