Editorial: Hurricane Ike and the work ahead

Editorial: Friday was a tough day for the Coast Guard family.  As Hurricane Ike rolled into Texas, Coast Guardsman from around the country were busy preparing to assist the victims, or were busy rescuing them.  Coast Guard helicopters rescued more than 65 people stranded on Bolivar Peninsula, Galveston, Texas, as storm surge waters flooded the area. Several hundred Coast Guardsman are ready to head out as soon as it is safe to start what may be the largest rescue mission since Hurricane Katrina.

While so many were busy in Texas, over 2,000 people were gathered in a hangar at Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii for a memorial service for the 4 Coast Guard aviators from CG-6505 who were lost last week.

I was reminded that, as the Admiral Allen said in his all hands message concerning the CG-6505 acccident, “we operate in an extremely hazardous environment. Coast Guard men and women go into harm’s way to train and conduct operations each day. In difficult times, we must re-dedicate ourselves to performing operations safely and effectively. The aircrew of CG-6505 epitomized the Guardian Ethos and the Nation is grateful for their service.”

Today, Coast Guardsman will be climbing into helicopters and airplanes and small boats to go into an extremely hazardous environment.  Just like Coast Guardsman have been doing for well over 200 years.

I pray that as the hundreds of Coast Guardsman arise this morning and set out on their mercy missions, they will be safe and watch out for each other.  I leave you with the words of the Coast Guard Hymn.

Eternal Father, Lord of hosts,
Watch o’er the men who guard our coasts.
Protect them from the raging seas
And give them light and life and peace.
Grant them from thy great throne above
The shield and shelter of thy love.

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces in the sky,
Be with them always in the air,
In dark’ning storms or sunlight fair.
O, Hear us when we lift our prayer,
For those in peril in the air.

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