Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/473008
28 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings No Rest for the Weary With the response to the World Trade Center still in full swing, another event captured the headlines and signaled my next deployment — anthrax. Persons unknown had mailed a letter containing anthrax to a senator in the Dis- trict of Columbia, contaminating the mail room and offce buildings around the Capitol, and bringing everything that takes place there to a standstill. Arriving at dusk, I helped establish an entry point and dress-out area to begin sampling offces in the Hart Senate Offce Building. I worked the night shift for the next month, supervising more than 100 sampling and evidence collection entries. While entries were taking place, the NSF command element was staffng Incident Command System positions to maintain control of what started out as a panic situation. All of these efforts led to a successful six-month cleanup operation. More Headlines In early February 2003, people watched in horror on national television as the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas. That evening found me in Jasper, Texas, where I supervised 20 collection teams in a volunteered private aircraft hanger, which would soon become the central ship- ment location for all the debris. Then in April, Senate Majority Leader Frist was mailed a letter containing ricin, a highly toxic substance. Again, the National Strike Force responded to our nation's capital, lead- ing the charge in key ICS positions and leading entries for sampling and decontamination. As with the anthrax case two years before, I drew night shift, but unlike before, we had a deadline. Saturday night, the unifed command informed us that the Capitol would re-open Monday morning. The day shift was recalled, all remaining personnel at the Atlantic Strike Team mobilized, and the longest day began. We completely decontaminated the affected areas of the building and a weary crew packed up by 7 a.m. Monday morning. Some crew members worked a 48-hour shift, but we got the job done. The next event would test our oil spill response capabilities, as the tank vessel Athos I struck a submerged object in the Delaware River near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, spilling 265,000 gallons of heavy oil. When lightering was complete and the ship patched up, I demobilized from the case. Four months later, I again received orders to the Athos response, with marching orders to wrap it up. On my arrival, 1,800 workers were present on the response. During the next three weeks, we reduced the amount of workers to less than 100. From the "you can't make this stuff up" fle, we deployed to New York City to assist the EPA with anthrax cleanup. A gentleman living in Manhattan, who made authentic tribal drums using imported animal hides, had contracted inhala- tion anthrax, prompting the decontamination of his work- shop and apartment. A full AST hazmat team responded. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Hurricane Rita pummeled the Gulf Coast. My assignment for both storm responses was vessel salvage — fnding vessels wherever they ended up, cataloging them, fnding the owners, and overseeing vessel removal. One vessel, in particular, a 220-foot long Soviet ship, purchased after the cold war, had been sitting idle for decades. This ship was sitting high and dry on a beach with no known owner. I explored this dark ship, mak- ing note of the Cyrillic writing, trying to translate it, so we could remove fuel and oil from the vessel. Eventually the ship was scrapped in place, after we removed more than 100,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil from its bunkers. Petty Offcer Kenneth Bond, a damage controlman with the U.S. Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team, surveys damaged rail cars in Braithwaite, Louisiana, after Hurricane Isaac. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Offcer Elizabeth H. Bordelon.