Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Guest Blog Post - LTJG Ryan White, USCG

Day Four came a little faster than we expected. After the 6:45 AM bag staging we had breakfast. The bags were being moved to the C-17 ahead of time so the plane would be ready to go upon arrival of the group. We had been notified the night before that we would be experiencing strong headwinds and the pilots wanted to get a jump on the flight so our arrival to Naval Station Rota, Spain would be nearly on time.

Three short hours later, our C-17 touched down. We were met by the base commanding officer, Captain Mosk, USCGC DALLAS commanding officer, Captain Robert Wagner, and USCGC DALLAS executive officer, Commander Bob Hendrickson. We were taken to a conference room where we received welcoming remarks from Captain Mosk. Captain Wagner proceeded to give the Coast Guard 101 brief, followed by a recap of their past 4.5 month patrol.

USCGC DALLAS was completing a patrol of the African coast and Mediterranean Sea when Russia invaded Georgia. Tripoli, Libya was DALLAS’ next port call however they were diverted to Souda Bay, Greece to receive humanitarian aid supplies for Georgia. 

Once we were aboard, and despite the scattered rain showers, the crew energetically answered questions during a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers with fries on the flight deck.

After lunch the groups were split into four groups, each group rotating to various stations located throughout the cutter. One group remained on the flight deck to receive law enforcement training from members of the DALLAS crew. JCOC members used a padded baton after being instructed by crew members on where to strike the instructor to compel compliance. 

Another group could be found on the forecastle of DALLAS receiving instructions on damage control procedures and training. Some JCOC members could be found on the pier with the cutter rescue swimmer, learning how to heave lines and about the various pieces of equipment that a cutter rescue swimmer maintains.

The most popular station (so popular that Sky Dayton did it twice) was the Over-the-horizon (OTH) boat ride in the harbor. At this station people were given high speed rides, quick turns and precision handling. Never did the OTH return with a quiet boatload.

As the Coast Guard day came to an end it became very clear that the members of JCOC 76 had learned quite a bit about the smallest branch of the US military. They were given the chance to speak to other “Coasties” and had discovered their great sense of pride and satisfaction in a job that needs to be done.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Ryan White
United States Coast Guard

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