Tag: Hurricane Maria

The Long Blue Line: “Semper Paratus”—Coast Guard men and women in Hurricane Maria

Locals wave for help in the central highlands of Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliarist J. Edwin Nieves compiled oral histories from Coast Guard members who responded in the wake of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Every one of these recorded oral histories proved compelling and revealed the commitment to service, devotion to duty and willingness to make sacrifices that characterizes the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard community. Each of the interviewees made sacrifices for others and endured personal privations.

Surviving Hurricane Maria

A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew lands at a softball field at a Coast Guard housing facility in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Sept. 22, 2017. The housing facility was used for Coast Guard personnel to shelter in place for Hurricane Maria and some operations were based there as damages were repaired to the Coast Guard base Sector San Juan, which is adjacent to San Juan harbor in Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Zach Zubricki.

The U.S. Coast Guard members who work at Sector San Juan had already been hit with Hurricane Irma but just two weeks later, they had to relocate and hunker down 10 miles away at Bayamon while Hurricane Maria wrought even more destruction to the island of Puerto Rico. Weeks later, those same member worked tirelessly to rebuild and become operational again.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Lt. Waymando Brown

Photo courtesy of Lt. Waymando Brown.

Lt. Waymando Brown is the 2018 Coast Guard Reserve recipient of the Capt. John G. Witherspoon Inspirational Leadership Award. Brown, the shore side division security officer for Coast Guard Port Security Unit 308 in Kiln, Mississippi, led his team through the difficult operations in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria.

Category 5 lifestyle

Seaman Rafael Omar Gomez Negron at U.S. Coast Guard Station Washington. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Andrew Kendrick.

Rafael Omar Gomez Negron left his home in Puerto Rico to join the U.S. Coast Guard with a very limited English vocabulary. He struggled through boot camp only to have more stress heaped on him when his family on Puerto Rico were in the direct path of Hurricane Irma last September. Negron put everything he had into learning English to excel in his job as a watchstander and boat crew member at his first station in Washington, D.C. Learn more about Negron’s extraordinary journey into America’s Coast Guard.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami

The summer and fall of 2017 saw a nearly unprecedented string of hurricanes impacting the southeastern United States. As always, of course, Coast Guard units responded to every storm, providing rescue, recovery, and security assistance in areas that had been ravaged by extreme weather. For Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Miami in particular, it was a uniquely trying time in which personnel truly distinguished themselves through their perseverance and dedication: five weeks, three storm responses, an evacuation of their own homes, and a unit that came together through a difficult period to accomplish diverse missions and take care of their fellow Coast Guard members.

Coast Guard works to identify owners of stranded boats in Puerto Rico

Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Centeno talks with local boat owners in an effort to identify owners of boats stranded from Hurricane Maria and inform them of a no-cost option to have their vessel removed, Vieques, Puerto Rico, Dec. 4, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando.

In response to Hurricane Maria Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Centeno and other Spanish speaking Coast Guard members worked with the Vessel Owner Outreach Group in efforts to identify owners of boats stranded in Hurricane Maria, and offer them a no-cost option to salvage the vessels, to either return them or transport them for disposal.

Salvaging boats, protecting the environment: The aftermath of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017. Two months after the storm has passed, the devastation lingers; families are displaced, homes have been torn-apart, and destroyed boats sit sunken in harbors or have washed ashore. The Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue working on organizing salvage and removal operations for displaced, sunken and wrecked vessels throughout the island.

Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: MK1 Ryan Swartz

With holidays fast approaching, many Coast Guard service members will be carving turkeys, shopping for holiday gifts, visiting family and…

…deploying for disaster response?

Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Swartz and his team are working to assist the commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its citizens by working to get their vessels out of the water in order to mitigate pollution to the environment.