Cutter Rush crew leaves their mark on Dutch Harbor

Boats along the shore under Mt. Ballyhoo by Stan Jones.

Boats along the shore under Mt. Ballyhoo with the WWII bunkers visible by Stan Jones.

by Ensign Jenna Carpenter

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Rush (WHEC 723) pulled into Dutch Harbor, Alaska, for a mid-patrol break recently. In between rest and relaxation, Rush crewmembers volunteered to do community service projects around the city.

The large signs on Mt. Ballyhoo commemorate the visits of the Coast Guard cutters to the busy port. Throughout the years the large WWII era bunkers overlooking the Coast Guard pier have been made available to visiting Coast Guard cutters to paint their name on in recognition of their contributions to the communities of the Aleutian Islands and their presence in the Bering Sea on patrol. After the city of Dutch Harbor offered Rush the opportunity, Seaman Gabriel Gomez volunteered to lead the project. He coordinated the design, transportation, supplies and personnel involved with the project. Over the three days in port the bunker was emblazoned with Rush to keep its memory in the town of Dutch Harbor for years to come.

Cutter Rush crew at Dutch Harbor Bishop's House

Petty Officer 3rd Class William Cumbie, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Crist, Petty Officer 3rd Class Joe Bartley, Ensign Jeff Schoknecht, Chief Petty Officer Nathan Wissman, Chief Petty Officer Calvin Pacheco and Ensign Ted Warren (left to right) from the Coast Guard Cutter Rush assist in refurbishing the iconic Russian Orthodox Church of Holy Ascension, built in 1825 in Dutch Harbor, July 16, 2011. Photo by cutter Rush crew.

Rush crewmembers stayed busy their second day in port helping community members restore the iconic Russian Orthodox Church of Holy Ascension, which was built in 1825. Crewmembers utilized the many talents they have mastered while serving in the Coast Guard and aboard Rush. The electrician mate’s shop, led by Chief Petty Officer Calvin Pacheco, rewired much of the building, installed electrical outlets and provided electricity to the church. The damage control shop, led by Chief Petty Officer Nathan Wissmann, applied layers of drywall mud throughout the entire building. Additional crewmembers did much needed yard work, hand sanded a spiral staircase to preserve its structure, and conducted general cleanups within the bishop’s house located on the property.

A small contigent of crewmembers also visited the Coast Guard Bering Sea Patrol Monument to pay tribute to the Coast Guardsmen who have lost their lives while serving their country in the Bering Sea. The crewmembers cleaned up the grounds around the park and pulled weeds, leaving the memorial crisp and fresh in appearance. The volunteers also left flowers in memory of the Coast Guardsmen who is buried at this site after losing his life in Dutch Harbor.

Rush’s crew continues to execute their core missions in the frigid waters of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, including conducting maritime law enforcement, ensuring the safety of life at sea, and conducting marine environmental protection.

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