We Turn Private Boat Owners into Private Boat Captains
Vincent Pica Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
DCP Cornell. FC Pica and VFC Cruickshank with our guests (click to enlarge)
Back to the Future, With Maritime Domain Awareness
German cap and explosives were found on the beach
Most East Enders, as well as many other Americans, have heard the WW-II story of how Germans “invaded” Long Island.The night of June 12, 1942, a young Coast Guardsman, 21-year old John Cullen, was walking his patrol along the beach in Amagansett when he saw lights ahead.Thinking that they were fishermen night-fishing (prohibited during the war for obvious reasons), he confronted 4 men dragging materiel up the beach.During the exchange, young Cullen realized that they were German saboteurs and, being out-numbered, turn heel and ran 3 miles back to his base, starting what turned out to be a full scale investigation by US forces.The team was captured, as well as a parallel operation in Ponte Vedra, FL, within two weeks.All thanks to a member of US Coast Guard Forces who was walking the beach.(In fact, Cullen received a personal Thank-You and handshake from J. Edgar Hoover.)
While we don’t have to worry about Nazi U-boats off of Long Island anymore, the Nation is at war in every sense of the word.And the US Coast Guard has implemented a rigorous program, not unlike young Cullen’s foot patrol 65 years ago, called Maritime Domain Awareness for US Coast Guard Forces to implement.The ‘regulars’ have primary responsibilities for high-value assets – fuel depots, ferry stations and the like – and the auxiliarists have primary responsibilities for everything else – marinas, boat ramps, dive shops – wherever the private boater congregates.Nation-wide, the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) Program has been implemented and is in full swing – by car, plane, boat or on foot…
Sixty-four years and seven months to the day, back on February 12 of this year, USCG Auxiliarist Kevin Osterbery of Center Moriches was conducting an MDA patrol, on foot.He was, as all auxiliarists are trained to do, keeping his eyes and ears open.With the winter tides at an especially low “dead low”, Kevin spied an object sticking out of the mud off the beach abutting Moriches Bay.It was a weapon.Kevin called it in and started a process that will lead to even more interaction between USCG Forces and local police forces in on-the-water activities.
The Monthly Flotilla Meeting
The monthly flotilla meeting on March 8th for Auxiliary Flotilla 18-06, East Moriches, had some special guests that night.Joining US Coast Guard Forces for the evening were members of the Suffolk County Police, Westhampton Beach Police and Department of Environmental/Divisions of Law Enforcement.Specifically, our honored guests were:
Thomas MartoranoLT. SCPD
Raymond DeanChief WHBPD
Dallas BengerLT. DEC./DLE
John StantonSGT. SCPD-Marine
Don MoorePD SCPD-Marine
Mark Simmons ECO DEC/ DLE
Ronald Brockmann IIPO S.C. Park Police
Todd J SmithECO DEC/ DLE
In addition to our monthly business which had to be attended to, we presented the USCGAux MDA system and procedures to our guests and engaged in Q&A with each other to better understand how we conduct “business” under our protocols, procedures and training.We also committed to conduct some on-the-water training together during the warmer months – towing procedures, search and rescue and the like.
Under procedures which govern USCGAux members, our first point of contact in any case of uncertainty or emergency is the nearest USCG station through its radio watch stander to the Officer of the Day or higher.We don’t dial “911”, so to speak.So, why meet with local police forces?
Simple.Just as in John Cullen’s day, we all are in this together and thus must know and respect each other.As Benjamin Franklin wrote to the Continental Congress in 1776, "We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.comor go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you “get in this thing…”
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