As a Coastie, I have traveled the States for the past 20 years going from coast to coast and one amazing adventure to another.
Read on in this blog to hear stories about my experiences living the Coast Guard life, not only as a military officer but also as a small town Midwestern girl who left home to enlist in the United States Coast Guard.
I look forward to hearing what you have to say about... My Coast Guard Career.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Coast Guard Sea Story

Listen to this interview with LT Sue Kerver to find out about life on a Coast Guard cutter. She was stationed on the USCGC Steadfast out of Astoria, Oregon. She talks about life at sea and some of the incredible opportunities that came along with it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Working with the Canadian Coast Guard

A few fellow Coasties have asked me what the yellow helicopter is in the picture at the top of my blog. They know it doesn't look like a U.S. Coast Guard helo since ours are usually orange or white. Well, they are right. It is a Canadian Air Force CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue aircraft.

While I was stationed in Maine as the Sector Command Center Chief (although this is a description of Miami’s Sector Command Center, all of the USCG Command Centers are basically the same), I worked with the Canadian Coast Guard quite a bit handling cross-border search and rescue. We held several exercises to practice and test our interoperability and joint efforts in search and rescue.

The picture at the top of my blog and these other pictures were taken during a two-day training session where we practiced using each other’s equipment during simulated search and rescue scenarios. We conducted man-overboard drills; we used the different types of water pumps to de-water a flooding boat; and we simulated transferring a person from a small boat to a helicopter. In the picture at the top of my blog, a USCG 47-foot Motor Life Boat is simulating a passenger transfer from the boat to the Canadian Comorant.

I really enjoyed working with both the Canadian Coast Guard and the Canadian Air Force while stationed up in Maine. The U.S. Coast Guard has an excellent relationship with the two forces and I look forward to working with them again in the future.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One of my First Jobs in the Coast Guard

Speaking of the Coast Guard Channel’s videos about Coast Guard Bootcamp, this video shows a bit about my first job in the Coast Guard. I was assigned as a Physical Fitness Instructor for recruit training… I was like Scuba Steve in the video!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Coast Guard Channel

Thanks to another Coast Guard blogger who posted about the Coast Guard Channel. This is an inspirational site for us Coasties. Sure does make me proud.

One of their latest productions, It’s Just Eight Weeks, details life in Coast Guard Bootcamp. These videos tell the story like no words can. Oh boy, the memories….

Here is the first video in a series of nine. Getting off that bus is exactly like they show it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Coast Guard Retirement

No, not me (I wish), but a long time mentor and friend of mine. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am in the Coast Guard (heck, I probably wouldn’t even still be in the Coast Guard) if it wasn’t for him. His guidance and leadership early on in my career greatly changed my path in life. He saw potential in me that I didn’t see myself. He fostered my talent and motivation, showing me ways to channel my energy and focus my life. I can only hope to continue his example as I carry on my career and he finishes his.

So, after nearly 30 years of service, he is finishing the final chapter of a long rewarding and successful military career. He recently sent me, and some of his other colleagues, an e-mail. I asked him for permission to publish it because I really think it captures the essence of a Coast Guard career and the sacrifices it brings.

Farewell and following seas Bill. Remember, you can take all the credit for all that I have become in the good ole USCG.

As the Jim Stafford song goes, "All good things gotta come to an end..."

Well, my time has come. Friday, April 18th will be my last day in the office. After that, I will be on terminal leave until June 30th and will then officially retire on July 1st.

This all started in July, 1978, when I left Birmingham, Alabama, on a young man's great adventure. It was actually an escape...but the results are the same. I did just under 4 years in the Coast Guard and then got out in May, 1982 to return to college. Looking for adventure outside the classroom, I joined the Alabama Army National Guard. They took me in as a Specialist-5 (E5), gave me a little spending money, and for about a year and a half I got paid to go camping and play on tanks. Getting bored again, I returned to the Coast Guard in October, 1983 and have been here ever since.

Along the way I promoted a few times, got married, added a couple of kids, finished college, and got to see a lot of the U.S. and some of Europe.

My daughter is now a senior at Auburn University studying education and will graduate in 2009. My son is a senior in high school and after graduating this June will report to Paris Island for boot camp. Following boot camp he hopes to join his sister at Auburn while the Marines pay for his college. So in addition to all the names you know me as, or have called me, "Marine Dad" will soon be added to that list.

As many of you know (and experienced yourself), for the past 23 years, My wife has tagged along behind me; starting and stopping jobs, packing up, moving, unpacking, and keeping the family focused. The kids have also tagged along; changing schools every few years, leaving friends and having to make new ones. This was compounded by me volunteering for new jobs every few years, some with short notice, and several short tours. They made tremendous sacrifices, for my career, and I cannot thank them enough. I am the person you know today because of them.

We will be in Virginia until my wife finishes out teaching the school year. We plan on spending the month of July in our RV traveling back to Alaska where we will settle.

Attached is an invitation to my ceremony. No color guard, dancing bears, or the like...but a gathering of those who have been friends, mentors, coaches, and inspirations to me along the way.

In closing thank you for helping make my adventure so much fun.