Saturday, August 04, 2007
Happy 217th to the USCG
Today marks the 217th birthday of the United States Coast Guard. I raise my roll of Life Savers to them all -- even my retired coastie brugly other.
Both my brother and his wife served in the Coast Guard. In fact, they met in boot camp. They both served as radiomen (I think they may have changed the title to communications officer, since the 1980s, but don't quote me on it. I only know what I hear, and I'm a little deaf ... or, is it daft?), and eventually were both stationed in Alaska, where they became serious enough to marry, and where my brugly other's little bathtub, the cutter Woodrush, received the emergency signal from the cruise ship Prinsendam.
My brugly other told us all, once, that the Woodrush was so old and so pitifully underpowered that, although it was the first ship to receive the distress call, it was the last to arrive at the scene. Nonetheless, it was actively involved in rescuing its share of the hundreds of passengers stranded on a burning cruise liner.
My sister-in-law, too, was involved in her share of heroics, but after they had been transferred out of Alaska to about the farthest point away.
Only a couple of weeks after her first son was born, she sent her family north to stay with relatives (my mom and dad) while she stayed stationed in Key West to bear the brunt of hurricane Andrew, to keep comm lines open and to pitch in anywhere else they needed her.
I know from experience that Coasties are among the finest people this country has to offer, and I will be proud of my family's ties to them always.
Happy Birthday, ye shallow-water heroes!