Forwarded by Roy Garner

The San Francisco Chronicle treated December 14th readers with a front page story unlike the usual sensation of the press media.

This one was about a female humpback whale that became entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. Hundreds of yards of line had wrapped her tail, torso and mouth, causing her to struggle to stay afloat.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands outside the Golden Gate Bridge and radioed an environmental group for help.

Mick Menigoz of Novato, who organizes whale watching and shark diving expeditions on his boat the New Superfish, got a call for help Sunday morning, alerted the Marine Mammal Center and gathered a team of divers.

The rescue team arrived within a few hours and determined that her condition was so bad that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her - a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a few rescuers. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver - one at a time - and nudged them… pushing them gently around to “thank them.” Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The one who cut the rope out of her mouth said her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

Click here for the FIRST STORY [ ].

Coincidentally at almost the same time, a similar event occurred off North Carolina in the Atlantic involving the NOAA, Coast Guard and members of several related agencies. Click here for the SECOND STORY [ ].


Visited in April 1995

The roots of today's modern Coast Guard include several sea-related organizations that eventually became part of the original Coast Guard — known as the Revenue Cutter Service when it was established in 1790.

The fledgling American government established this Cutter Service to enforce quarantines, customs and tariffs on maritime shipping. A small but brave band of sailors earned their stripes battling pirates and smugglers plying the waters offshore America's eastern coastline.

One related group dated back to Colonial times when the Lighthouse Service came into being in 1716. Its job was to erect and man lighthouses, tend buoys and operate lightships, but it was 150 years before it officially became a part of the Coast Guard.

Another, the Bureau of Navigation and Steamship Inspection, began in 1838. It monitored and inspected steamboat engines in American ports and chartered and monitored domestic waterways.

The government also established the Lifesaving Service in 1848 to assist mariners in distress and rescue victims of the sea. That, too became part of the Coast Guard's duties and responsibilities.

Coast Guard aviation had its beginning in 1915, and has since expanded to include modern day jets and helicopters to fight the war on drugs.

Today's Coast Guard is also involved in fighting oil spills, icebreaking, marking channels, enforcing immigration laws, tracking icebergs, protecting fisheries, maintaining aids to navigation, protecting ports, conducting search and rescue missions, and maintaining defense readiness capabilities.

While it has performed as an armed service during times of war, the Coast Guard is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation…not the Department of Defense. That fact may surprise many people.

The Coast Guard Academy was founded in 1876 and now graduates about 175 officers each May. Each then enters a five-year tour of duty with a Bachelor of Science degree and the knowledge that he or she has joined a select group of individuals uniquely prepared mentally and physically to go on to a career in a chosen field. Some will command cutters, fly Coast Guard aircraft and attend postgraduate school.

Applicants to attend the Coast Guard Academy need no congressional appointments. Merit and merit alone is the first requirement to be considered for acceptance to this unique academy.

Acceptance to the Academy's four-year Bachelor of Science program and training is based on an annual competition among top students across the nation. The competition is evaluated for high school performance, standardized test scores, leadership potential, and desire to serve the nation.

An appointment to the Academy represents a full four-year scholarship and additional monthly allowance of $558. The Academy values the young men and women who choose to join this respected Corps of Cadets.

Cadets complete a carefully prepared series of courses oriented towards engineering, the sciences and professional studies. Freshmen classroom sizes range from 20-25 students and upper level classes contain from 10-12. The academic experience includes more than book learning. Physical skills, stamina, leadership and competitive attitude are vital to being an officer.

Athletics: The Academy fields 21 teams in varsity sports and five club sports. Facilities include a football and soccer stadium; swimming pools; basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts; baseball and softball diamonds; rowing and sailing centers; rifle/pistol range.

Extracurricular: Activities include the Regimental Band, Drum & Bugle Corps, instrumental groups, pep bands, Glee Clubs, choirs, cheerleading, and involvement in local community activities — part of being a good citizen at the Academy.

High Tech: The Academy has some of the most sophisticated labs in the world, including the Ship Control and Navigation Training Simulator, the Radar Simulator and the Tow and Wave Tanks.

Hands-on ExperIence:

FRESHMAN YEAR. In early July, some 275 young men and women selectees arrive in early July for an invigorating period of physical, military and leadership training known as “Swab Summer” to prepare them to join the Corps of Cadets. During the last week, these freshmen cruise aboard the training ship EAGLE.

SOPHOMORE YEAR. A five-week cruise on the EAGLE, then three weeks at an operational Coast Guard unit ashore or afloat, plus two weeks of small boat sailing.

JUNIOR YEAR. One week of leadership training, three weeks as cadre for incoming freshmen, one week at Damage Control School, one week rifle and pistol qualification and two weeks aviation familiarization.

SENIOR YEAR. Ten weeks aboard a Coast Guard cutter as part of the wardroom, leading to qualification as a Deck Watch or Engineering officer afloat. Academic internships are available on Capitol Hill and in Coast Guard Specialty fields.

NUMBER OF CADETS: 925. 20% women. 20% minority.

AVERAGE ENTRY SCORES: Math: SAT 640. ACT 27. Verbal: SAT 544. ACT 25.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS: U.S. citizen. 17-21 years old. Pass mental & physical exams.

APPLICANT TOURS: The Admissions Office conducts campus tours and briefings for parents and high school students at 1:15 p.m. each Friday, except holidays). Reservations are not required but are recommended.


ACADEMIC MAJORS: Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Government, Management, Marine Engineering, Marine Science, Mathematics, Naval Architecture.

U.S. COAST GUARD MISSIONS: Aids to Navigation, Boat Safety. Defense Operations, Environmental Response, Ice Operations, Marine Inspection and Licensing, Marine Science, Maritime Law Enforcement, Migrant Interdiction, Port Safety & Security, Search & Rescue, Waterways Management.


With the letting of a $17 billion modernization contract in late June, the U.S. Coast Guard eventually will become second in size of the world fleets only to the U.S. Navy. And, if President Bush has his way, the nation's oldest sea service will leave the Department of Transportation to serve in its most expanded mission since WW 2 under the U.S. Homeland Security.

A team of defense contractors, including Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop, has formed the Integrated Coast Guard Systems that will coordinate the huge deepwater construction program over the next several decades. The ICGS will build, subcontract, and supply the Coast Guard with cutters, aircraft and the necessary communications and technology equipment to make the expansion possible.

Some congressional opposition stands in the way of the overall plan, but the pro forces believe they will have a majority vote to fund the first $500 million that will bring the Coast Guard roaring into the 21st Century.

With its 43,640+ active duty and reserves, the Coast Guard would be the largest agency transferred to the president's proposed Department of Homeland Security. Other proposed transferees in order of size are the Transportation Security Agency 41,300+, Immigration and Naturalization Service 39,460+, Customs Service 21,740+, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 8,620+, Secret Service 6,110+, Federal Emergency Management Agency 5,130+, and others at 3,140+ personnel. The new department would rank third largest behind Defense and VA.

Initial congressional reaction to the DHS has been mixed, seemingly based more on politics than the essence of the concept, with political opponents not willing to agree to the president's sense of urgency relating to the War on Terrorism. Some pundits believe this may backfire on the nay Sayers come the November elections.


USCG Release (April 15, 2005) – A federal judge in Detroit Thursday ordered a North Carolina man to pay $10,000 in restitution for making a false distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Bradley Paul Taylor, formerly of Rochester Hill, Mich., was sentenced to two years probation and four months house confinement after pleading guilty in January to making a false district call.

Taylor admitted, through his guilty plea, that on the night of June 1, 2003, he contacted the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 stating his vessel was taking on water in Lake St. Clair. Rescue boats from Coast Guard Stations Belle Isle and St. Clair Shores and a helicopter from the Coast Guard air station at Selfridge responded to the distress call. Taylor was actually on board a vessel docked at a Detroit area marina.

“False distress calls not only cost taxpayers money and place Coast Guard members at increased personal risk, but more importantly, they divert limited resources from mariners who are in actual distress,” stated Capt. Paul Preusse, chief of operations for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland.



Admiral Thad W. Allen assumed the duties of the 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard on May 25th, 2006. Admiral Allen is a native of Tucson, Arizona and graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1971.

Admiral Allen previously served as:

  • Coast Guard Chief of Staff
  • Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
  • Chairman of the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Requirements Council
  • Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Katrina response and recovery operations in Louisiana, Mississippi
    and Alabama, and
  • Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Fifth Coast Guard District, and U.S. Maritime Defense Zone Atlantic in Portsmouth, Va., where he was the operational commander for all Coast Guard activities in an area of responsibility spanning five Coast Guard Districts, encompassing more than 14 million square miles and involving 26,000 military and civilian employees, and 27,900 Auxiliarists. He led the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area forces in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

In other flag assignments, Admiral Allen commanded the Seventh Coast Guard District, where he directed Coast Guard operations in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and throughout the Caribbean. He was also assigned as the Coast Guard's Director of Resources at Coast Guard Headquarters, where he was responsible for formulating the Coast Guard's budget, developing long range plans and managing the Coast Guard's performance plan.

A specialist in operations both in the coastal and offshore environments, Admiral Allen served aboard three Coast Guard cutters: the Androscoggin, Gallatin and Citrus, which he commanded. His coastal command operational assignments include Captain of the Port/Group Long Island Sound, Connecticut; Group Atlantic City, New Jersey and LORAN Station, Lampang, Thailand; Search and Rescue controller in the Greater Antilles Section, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Intelligence Watch Officer at DEA/INS El Paso Intelligence Center, El Paso, Texas; Chief Budget Officer, Maintenance and Logistics Command Atlantic, Governors Island, New York; Deputy Project Manager, Fleet Modernization and Rehabilitation (FRAM) Project; and Assistant Division Chief, Programs Division, Office of the Chief of Staff at Coast Guard Headquarters.

He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the George Washington University and received the Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. He also holds a Master of Science degree from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2003, Admiral Allen was elected a National Academy of Public Administration Fellow.

Wife Pamela Hess Allen, of Champaign, IL, is the Assistant Dean for Student Services at the George Mason University School of Management. Together they have three grown children, Amanda, Meghan and Lucas and two grandsons.

Admiral Allen is the son of Clyde and Wilma Allen. Clyde Allen is a retired Coast Guard Chief Damage Controlman and World War II Veteran.


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. January 20, 2006 - The Coast Guard has completed the investigation into the Greek tanker Athos I oil spill along the Delaware River on the evening of Nov. 26, 2004.

Coast Guard investigators concluded that the vessel came in contact with a submerged anchor while maneuvering through Anchorage #9 enroute to its berth at the Citgo Asphalt Refining Facility in Paulsboro, N.J. The anchor punctured the vessel’s bottom plating in a ballast tank and a cargo tank, resulting in the release of nearly 264,000 gallons of crude oil.

The active clean up of nearly 57 miles of shoreline in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware was concluded just last month after removal of more than 18,000 tons of oily solids - at a cost estimated to exceed $150 million.

Following the incident, surveys of the river bottom in the vicinity of the casualty were conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and commercial surveyors contracted by the vessel’s owner. The surveys revealed numerous submerged objects in the area, including a large concrete block and a pump casing. The vessel actually struck all three of these objects; however, analysis of paint chips and the unique shape and dimensions of the hull damage revealed the anchor as the source of the puncture.

“There was no evidence that any violation of applicable international rules, Federal law or regulations contributed to this incident,” said Capt. David Scott, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “The vessel came up river with a draft of 36 feet 6 inches. Our investigator’s review of the vessel’s voyage management plan indicated that appropriate calculations were made to ensure adequate under keel clearance for the prevailing 40-foot channel depth.”

Coast Guard investigators were unable to determine the owner of the 18,000 pound anchor, nor establish how long it was submerged in Anchorage #9.

“Evidence suggests the anchor may have been lodged in the vessel for a brief time,” Scott said, “therefore we were not able to determine its precise location, nor its orientation before coming in contact with the vessel.”

Because bottom surveys conducted subsequent to the incident revealed numerous submerged objects in that area, the Coast Guard has recommended that navigation guidelines currently in effect for the Delaware River be reviewed to ensure they remain appropriate. “In addition, we’ve also recommended that legislation be adopted that requires immediate reporting to the Coast Guard of any objects that have been lost or discarded into a navigable channel or anchorage that can impede safe navigation,” said Scott.

. “We will continue to monitor the affected areas, and are prepared to take appropriate action in the event any residual Athos I related oil is detected in the future,” Scott noted.