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The United States Coast Guard, established in 1790, is both a military and law enforcement service. Its role includes enforcement of U.S. maritime law, coastal defense, and search and rescue. From the beach at Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington, I was able to photograph a Coast Guard rescue training exercise.

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Originally posted to Kossack Air Force on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Helicopters and Rotorcraft, Shutterbugs, and Koscadia.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Even the rescue training is dangerous (15+ / 0-)

    It can't be fun flying or rappelling so close to a coastal cliff like that.  It takes only a few seconds of inattention or bad luck for helicopter flying to end up very badly.

    Someone I work with is a close relative of the survivor of that USCG helicopter crash in La Push, Washington.  The crash was the result of a combination of pilot error, crew communications, and a hard-to-see obstacle (power line) crossing the aircraft's flight path.

    If atheism is a religion, then "off" is a TV channel.

    by DaveinBremerton on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 09:40:35 AM PDT

  •  We do a lot of things well, America does. (7+ / 0-)

    This is certainly one of them. It's a treat to be able to observe a training exercise, it puts one's mind at ease and bolsters confidence. Easy to see why so much of the world relies on our skills, abilities and willingness to help out and get a job done well.

    Thanks for the photo diary.

  •  Rescue training (5+ / 0-)

    Damn, that looks like fun!

    Great photos.  As usual.

    We're all just monkeys burning in hell.

    by smokeymonkey on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 10:37:05 AM PDT

  •  Great action photography! (4+ / 0-)

    It looks like the victim is going to make it through...SSK

    "Hey Clinton, I'm bushed" - Keith Richards UID 194838

    by Santa Susanna Kid on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:10:24 PM PDT

  •  These guys are such heroes! (5+ / 0-)

    They have a motto at this school:

    'You have to go out, but you don't have to come back.
    And sometimes, they don't. We have a memorial to the crew of the Triumph in Hammond.

    The five-man crew of the Triumph all perished in 1961 when they went out in mammoth seas to rescue two brothers who lost their rudder on the Columbia River Bar, also called the Graveyard of the Pacific.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:17:14 PM PDT

  •  I used to make the scuba masks for the Coast Guard (9+ / 0-)

    rescue divers. For years my day job was at Sea Vision, a company that made scuba masks and also made prescription lenses for dive masks. We had the contract to make all the Coast Guard rescue masks, and since I was the only techie in the place, I made all the masks. They each had to be drilled to install a little clamp at the top, through which the divers would insert a short lightstick that they used to signal the helicopter at night.  I bet I made a couple thousand of them.

    Years ago when Kevin Costner and Ashton Kuchler made the movie "The Guardian", about Coast Guard divers, the production company wanted authentic masks, so I made up around 30 masks for them. Kuchler and the others used them in the movie, but Costner didn't--he thought the actual Coast Guard mask covered too much of his face, so he used a full-plate mask (which the Coast Guard doesn't use) so his face would be more visible on camera.

    A while after the movie, I was at Disney World Hollywood Studios on their movie tour when they had a display of some wetsuits and dive masks used in "The Guardian"--and was poking everyone on the tram car with me telling them "Hey, I'm the guy who made those!".

    So that's my claim to Hollywood fame.


    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 01:18:07 PM PDT

  •  On 9/11/01 I was on my sailboat (4+ / 0-)

    at the dock in Traverse City Michigan. The CG helio that is stationed there was flying over the city and the lake area, my guess was that they had been ordered to do so because nobdy knew what else might happen.

    When the helio was hovering over the the marina I stood at attention and held a hand salute. The helio flashed its landing light and I released the salute with a snap. Only time I have saluted since my army time.

    Corny I know, but I am glad I did it. I have tremendous respect for the CG.

    •  When the Traverse City station was still using (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      vzfk3s, Ojibwa, Jay C

      the HU-16 Albatross, they sometimes got calls in the wee hours. An SAR (Search And Rescue) mission was always high priority, so they took off at full combat power.  No "noise abatement" procedure on those R-1820 Wright Cyclone engines. 1,425 HP each at full throttle can rattle dishes some distance away.

      The switchboard would light up with indignant citizens complaining about the noise. Wonder how indignant they would be if they were the object of the rescue mission.

      Naturally, Red Bull owns one.

      Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

      by Otteray Scribe on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 05:20:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My front porch: (6+ / 0-)

    Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

    by Otteray Scribe on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 03:50:54 PM PDT

  •  I have great respect for the Coast Guard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, Ojibwa

    When someone needs to be rescued - they go. Doesn't matter how crappy the weather is (and it usually is).

    They're also bottom of the food chain when it comes to funding.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 06:46:12 PM PDT

  •  Many fond and not so fond memories... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa, Jay C, Otteray Scribe, xaxnar

    Ex-Coastie here.

    The Navy guys like to call us 'puddle pirates'...until their asses are in the drink.  

    It could be lonely and dreary sometimes, but there is absolutely nothing on earth like the rush you get when that klaxon goes off.

    And the Major is right. We'd fly in weather that grounds all the other services.
    Because, well, people rarely seem to sink in good weather...

  •  Here's the tale of an extreme USCG rescue (0+ / 0-)

    Great photos, BTW.

    This kind of work is tough enough on a clear day; there's a story from FLYING magazine that has to be read to be believed.

         A hellacious storm, winds gusting to 60 knots with 35 foot waves, and a cruise ship sinking with 34 on board. Two Coast Guard Jayhawks and a C-130H were scrambled for what would be a nearly 500 mile round trip in instrument conditions. Here's just one of the things that made it hairy.

    ...The Black Hawks carry a superb automatic flight control system (AFCS). We're talking about God's own power steering. The equipment includes dual stability augmentation systems (SAS), one digital and an analog backup. Combined with autothrottles and power trim, the big copters can almost fly hands off. Pilots get very used to their AFCS, especially in high-stress situations involving rescues and bad weather. You'd hate to have it give you grief when two guys are halfway up in the basket.

    Molthen says, "Only two things are wrong with the Jayhawk. The radios are less than terrific-especially the HF-and the AFCS doesn't like to get wet." And it usually doesn't get wet: it's in a sealed black box just ahead of the windscreen and behind the radome. But 6031 was getting doused by the occasional 50-foot spike of a wave, and the AFCS started getting temperamental. In the midst of the third hoist the box went offline completely, the Jayhawk turning into a nightmarish, drunken handful in a millisecond. As Molthen yelled "AFCS!" Neubecker was already hitting the four reboot buttons. The infernal device came right back, only to knock off another half-dozen heart-stopping times.

    "At least it always came back up," recalled Neubecker. "Sometimes it's like your Microsoft PC, refusing to restart. We're working with Sikorsky to shield it better."

    Read the whole thing. I've linked to it before, but it's still worth reading.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 06:55:25 PM PDT

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