Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

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.

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Page 31 of 102

29 Spring 2015 Proceedings As we brought the last crew member to the dock, Coast Guard and family members lined its entire length, all ren- dering salutes, as we brought one of our own ashore for the last time. Hurricane Isaac When Hurricane Isaac made landfall in August 2012 in Lou- isiana, it battered coastal towns all the way to New Orleans and pushed an 11-foot storm surge ashore. I responded to a chemical transfer facility. Isaac inundated them with 13 feet of water, foating storage tanks off their foundations, breaking piping, and derailing 180 chemical rail cars. For the next two weeks, I oversaw rail car re-railing and served as a liaison between state and federal agencies. Continuing Deployments In May 2013, I found myself on a plane heading for another deployment — this time to Panama. The Panama Canal Authority requested a GST team to evaluate their canal expansion project response plans. For a week, I toured the area, examined response capabilities, and made recommen- dations for improvements to their incident command struc- ture, hazmat response department, and evacuation plans. I've heard sea stories all my life, but somehow, National Strike Force stories seem just a bit grander, a bit larger. Every one of my 120-plus deployments tells a story, some funny, some that would make a person cry, but each one unique in its own way. The NSF has proven time and again that when things look their worst, that's when we are at our best. About the author: DC1 Ken Bond has served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 19 years in many capacities, most notably as a response supervisor for the Atlantic and Gulf Strike Teams. He has received a Meritorious Service medal, two Commenda- tion medals, and an Achievement medal. DC1 Bond has also earned a NIMS ICS Type II operations section chief qualifcation. Editor's note: Some of the incident statistics and information in this article come from internal Coast Guard reports and may not be avail- able online. Changes In 2006, I left the National Strike Force and rejoined the cut- ter feet, spending my days working navigational aids in the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, and realizing that I had to get back to the response world. I was an observer, stuck on the sidelines, watching events on the news change or dam- age our country, and couldn't do a thing about it. I got my wish in 2009, when I received orders to report to the Gulf Strike Team. I only needed an introduction to new equipment and policies since I was previously qualifed; soon enough, I was back out responding to oil spills in the middle of the night. The 2010s In April 2010, a dredging operation dropped a spud on a 10-inch crude oil pipeline, in (of all places) the middle of a wildlife refuge. In all, the response was a huge success, and we fnished pulling 80,000 feet of oil boom out of the water just days before the largest oil spill in history. Deepwater Horizon In May 2010, I reported to Houma, Louisiana, as special monitoring of advanced response technologies group super- visor, determining oil dispersant effectiveness. This role would challenge me like never before, as I played three- dimensional chess with real people, boats, and aircraft on a board that was 100 miles away from the actual event. Once the well was plugged and dispersant use ended, I moved on to different roles — such as fguring out how to use logging helicopters to recover oil boom from environ- mentally sensitive areas. Recovering Our Own In March 2012, tragedy struck the Coast Guard when a heli- copter crashed in Mobile Bay, claiming the lives of all aboard. The Gulf Strike Team mobilized to recover the deceased crew members. The greatest hazard on this response was the emotional pain that everyone involved was going through. During this response, I would show up at the command post, give a briefng to the captain of the port, and then head out to the feld where I would meet with search teams, assess their mental states, and call in Critical Incident Stress Management team members where needed.

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