Sunday, November 27, 2011


The nation enthralled in mid-January of this year after seeing television coverage of the remarkable ditching of a passenger plane in the frigid Hudson River off Manhattan.  Captain Chesley “Sulley” Sullenberger was pilot of the U.S. Airways Airbus 320. He skillfully brought the plane to safety after its jet engines swallowed birds and lost power. All 155 people on board were saved, thanks to quick response by Coast Guard, police, and commercial craft on the river. With his background as an Air Force pilot and safety expert, Captain Sullenberger was the right man in the right place at the right time.

News reports hailed the feat as “unprecedented.” Perhaps that is true in a narrow sense, but this was not a new experience for the Coast Guard. Its men were also in the right places when needed years earlier. With the advent of commercial aircraft able to span the world’s oceans, the Coast Guard set up a series of ocean stations. It was not pleasant duty, for it required steaming around for weeks at a time. - often in cold, rough weather. The cutters’ duties included determining winds aloft, serving as navigation beacons, and relaying radio communications. It was a mission that beat up both men and ships.

Oh all happened before...and the Coast Guard was there