Sandy Strikes; The Coast Guard Responds


2012-10-30 As the mega-storm struck the United States, the USCG as usual in such situations got busy. The Coast Guard rescued 14 people from life rafts in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras, N.C., Monday, Oct. 29, and two people remain missing.

The first MH-60 Jayhawk crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:30 a.m. and hoisted five people into the aircraft, and a second helicopter arrived and rescued nine people and all were taken to Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., with no life-threatening conditions.

SLD has visited Elizabeth City often and has provided interviews of those visits.  The main thrust of one of those visits is the profound need the USCG faces for rebuilding those critical facilities before it is too late.

As the then Captain of the base commented:

Essentially this is a World War II vintage base; it’s got a deep legacy here within the community in Elizabeth City. And it’s played a key role over the years since World War II. And really, any rescue that you see at sea or anything that the Coastguard’s doing out there on the high seas or picking up people locally in lakes, inland waterways, all that portion of the operations, you can reverse engineer from the operations to a base like Elizabeth City.

So that’s kind of the plus and minus of the hurricane season, but it’s certainly not the way to hope for hurricanes or whatever to get money to help recapitalize your base.we have kind of a FedEx approach to aircraft maintenance. Elizabeth City maintains all the aircraft in the whole United States Coastguard. This is the hub where it all happens, all the spare parts, all major maintenance comes through here, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

And currently our warehouse, which has a lot of these spare parts, is in need of great repair; we have a crumbling floor right now, which we’re buttressing up. This part of the country, we’re close to the Dismal Swamp, we have a lot of underground water. Actually, the warehouse is on top of kind of an underground river.

So the floor is sagging, so we’re looking forward to getting a new warehouse so we can adequately house all of the spare parts and get a state-of-the-art warehousing.

Because if we have a failure here within Elizabeth City for the aircraft maintenance, it’ll affect the whole fleet throughout the Coastguard. We are a single point of failure. So that’s a huge infrastructure issue that we’re looking forward to working through.

Credit Video: USCG District 5