On January 29, 1945, 75 years ago, a catastrophic explosion destroyed the transport. In terms of lives lost, the destruction of the Serpens ranks as the single largest disaster ever recorded in Coast Guard history.
For most 17-year-olds, the years of graduating high school, attending college or trade school, and beginning the first steps into adulthood are a time of unbridled optimism and possibility. For Wilmington, North Carolina native Floyd Wilvers, now 92, turning age 17 meant a voyage into the unknown laced with fear, but also a sense of patriotism and duty.
Navy SEALs, Marine Raiders, Army Rangers and Green Berets often come to mind when thinking about military special operation forces. Many only tend to think of the Coast Guard as rescuers of mariners in peril at sea, however the Coast Guard also has Deployable Specialized Forces. One of the many DSF teams includes the tactical law enforcement teams that are highly trained to integrate with Navy teams to interdict illegal drug traffickers on the high seas. A member of the Coast Guard Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team recently had the opportunity to train at the Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy that will further enhance Coast Guard operations.
Chief Petty Officer Timothy Soboleski, a reserve electrician’s mate stationed at Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, Michigan, carries on the chief’s strong tradition of enlisted leadership. Soboleski was recognized for his leadership when he was awarded the 2015 Master Chief Angela M. McShan Inspirational Leadership Award – Reserves.
Tradewinds, an annual Caribbean-focused exercise overseen by U.S. Southern Command, focuses on building and strengthening partnerships. The exercise helps nations better respond to natural disasters and land and maritime threats, including illicit trafficking.
The name “Coast Guard” can be a little deceiving. Many people don’t realize Coast Guardsmen are deployed around the world conducting a variety of military, law enforcement, regulatory and humanitarian missions. One of its most significant expeditionary missions is counter narcotics in the Western Hemisphere; more specifically, stopping drug smugglers in the “drug transit zones” of the Eastern Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Basin.
“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.”
Coast Guard employee completes Army basic training at 55 years old. “I came within just a few hours of not being able to join the Army,” said John Taffe. “It literally took a call to congress…”
Commandant of the Coast Guard Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp recently visited the Kingdom of Bahrain for an annual visit to Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia and to meet with key maritime partners.
The Warrior Games bring together more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from all branches of the U.S. military, as well as from international armed forces. The event includes competitions in archery, cycling, seated volleyball, shooting, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball. The goal of the Warrior Games isn’t necessarily to identify the most skilled athletes, but rather to demonstrate the incredible potential of wounded warriors through competitive sports.