>Fall Approaches

>Sector Juneau,
Before you pack up those beach towels and flip flops …. I wanted to pass along my congratulations on a summer well done! As a Sector, it was a very busy time, both with operations and logistics. All of you, at all of our units, contributed to the Coast Guard’s success, serving the public in the Inside Passage and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as protecting our ports and waterways throughout our area of operations.

In the spirit of team camaraderie and awareness, I wanted to again share a fraction of what your fellow sector shipmates have been up to and what’s coming up. First of all, thanks to the many of you (27 to be exact) for deploying to the Gulf of Mexico to assist our fellow guardians and the people of the Gulf coast with the massive oil recovery. Your efforts contributed to a monumental undertaking, and the experience you gained being part of such a large response will serve you well later in your careers. We consistently had members who volunteered … reflecting sincere selflessness and a can-do spirit that characterizes Coast Guard servants. Also, a big thanks to our Logistics shop, particularly the Admin Division, for their work coordinating the orders and myriad of other requirements for this mission support.

Another significant way ahead we experienced this summer was in our enforcement and partnership arenas. Outlying units teamed up with the newly invigorated Sector Enforcement Division to complete an array of missions across SEAK that had previously been unachievable. Your vital efforts led to record numbers for the Sector toward meeting D17’s boarding goals for safety, security and living marine resources.

You also conducted boardings in various places seldom encountered by the Coast Guard…BEST teams and other units had an increased presence around Prince of Wales Island, in Skagway, Haines, Sitka and on AMHS ferries in between! Major fisheries enforcement actions were taken by several units working key cases with NMFS, many involving complex updated halibut regs. Similarly, we made some seldom seen arrests on cases ranging from domestic violence to felony probation violation…great work for our LE folks. Finally, unfortunately, we assisted with the tragic shooting of two police officers in Hoonah and the subsequent stand-off of the shooter. Just this week several of us from Station, Sector and ANACAPA attended the memorial service recognizing these two fallen heroes…a reminder that our roles protecting society can require the greatest sacrifice.

Not to be out done, the Prevention Department broke out impressive new systems as they showcased the commissioning of the High Speed Craft SUSITNA in Ketchikan this summer. MSD inspectors and Prevention staff are continuing to work with the Navy and Matsu Borough to ensure this Prototype ice breaking catamaran is put into service in Alaska and meets the unique design requirements for safety in the modern operating realm. On the cruise ship side, we’ve made it through another season with no major incidents (I probably should keep my mouth shut, so not to tempt fate!), but your compliance exams and expeditious responses to deficiencies throughout SEAK was a key to their safe operation.

Similarly, new technology emerged in our ATON world, as the ELDERBERRY and ANT Sitka began replacing dated light systems with new LED lights that cost less, require less power and are a great step forward for Waterways Management Systems. In other ATON news, ELDERBERRY won the coveted “Blood Battle” award at the Buoy Tender Round-up (hosted by Sta Juneau) as the unit with the most participation in the blood drive. On a sad note, we appreciated and supported ANT Sitka’s assistance and involvement during Air Station Sitka’s loss of three shipmates off the coast of Washington.

Also in ATON, we welcomed BMC Bagley as the new OIC in Sitka. LT Rasnake assumed command of the NAUSHON in late August, and BMCS Greenlief is the new OIC of Station Juneau. On the staff side, you’ll note our new Logistics Department Head – LCDR Mike Adams replaced LCDR Phil Burgard upon his retirement after 35 years of honorable service. While we’ve had many promotions, one of the most impressive was that of our Silver Badge advanced to from Senior to Master Chief this month…congratulations Master Chief Franklin!

New as well is the Sector staff’s consolidated location in downtown Juneau. Many on the staff moved into the Federal Building in July; the Engineers re-invigorated 5 Mile, and Prevention will move downtown hopefully by December. Thanks for the great adaptability and cheerful help with the move efforts. It seems most of us are finding it a great step forward with improved communications on a daily basis.

Continuing a trend started last year, our stations deployed crewmembers to assist D17 with assessing operational capabilities in the Arctic region of Northern Alaska. This goes along with many other things you all accomplished this summer that are too lengthy to mention…Stan visits, RFOs, gauge cal across the state, spenddowns, inspections, investigations, escorts, etc. Our stats are up, and we’ll summarize them in a Fall update similar to this for FY10 results at summer’s end.

Similarly, our people are doing great things. Several members volunteered to attend specialized training for work-life initiatives. Our ombudsmen attended similar training traveling to Seattle for CISM qualifications. LCDR Louie is in China on a professional exchange for two weeks. Mr. Fox was selected to attend advanced leadership training and went to New London this summer. The Commandant recognized the great work Sector, and MST2 Harris in particular, did wrapping up the PRINCESS KATHLEEN.

As we move into Fall, we’ll have more work to do serving SEAK for the Coast Guard. Our SKs and many division leaders are finalizing budgets for close-out this month and ensuring our property reports are completed right. Engineers at the Stations, ANT and Logistics will be faced with the daunting, but vital task of modernizing in October, ushering in a new era in casualty repair processes. Sector leaders met last week to complete a strategic assessment and see where we can improve and head to from here over the next few years. We’ll further meet in the CO’s conference later this Fall.

Many of you are preparing for yard availability season, taking boards for new quals and studying for SWEs, etc. The bottom line is that each of you, individually and in teams, make us succeed as a whole. We’ve had a much safer season this summer with fewer personnel mishaps … kudos for taking care of each other. Simultaneously, we’ve increased our operations statistics, strengthened our partnerships and enhanced our public outreach.

Outstanding work Sector Juneau! Keep doing great things for Southeast Alaska!!
Captain Bert