Missing

The Coast Guard is a small service; it’s even smaller if you’re in aviation.  By the time you’ve been in for a decade, you’ve run into the same people several times.  By year twenty, every unit transfer seems like a family reunion.  This was true when I was growing up as the daughter of a Coast Guard pilot and remained true during my own career.  When a ship goes down, a small boat capsizes, or an aircraft disappears, chances are high that you either lost a friend or are friends with someone who is grieving.

Coasties are pretty special people – I’ll admit to only a small bit of bias in that statement.  Our aviators are a particularly special breed.  Remember the heroes of Katrina?  What you saw was people responding in the way that is, for them, “ops normal.”  The air crews are close-knit, highly competent, intelligent, and mission-focused.  While they operate within the  confines of highly-disciplined  operational requirements, they also are some of the most compassionate people you will meet.  Listening to a pilot talk a panicked boater through hoist procedures is a revelation in crisis communication.

Don’t take my word for how awesome our aviators are: this interview with Lieutenant Commander Che Barnes does a good job of representing the group.  LCDR Barnes was the aircraft commander for the Coast Guard C-130 involved in a mid-air collision with a Marine Corps helicopter last Thursday.  Nine people are missing.

Fair winds, shipmates.

che

Photo:   evanflys.com

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