Ten Year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - The Day Before


Ten years ago today, Hurricane Katrina was still offshore.

Ten years ago today, the Gulf Coast of America was not ready.

Ten years ago today, the Coast Guard WAS READY.

As procedures called for, local units braced for what they knew would be a busy few days. Hurricane shutters were in place. Additional watches were set and extra supplies already stowed. Small boats and smaller cutters were already in their “hurricane anchorages” or underway, having already sortied as part of a hurricane avoidance plan. Aircrews had flown their aircraft to airfields outside the anticipated strike zone, ready to immediately return and begin executing their missions. “Notice to Mariners” were repeatedly broadcast.

All the Coast Guard men and women in the expected impact area knew they’d be busy as they went about their duties ten years ago today. Ten years ago they assumed the watch after taking care of their own homes in face of the impending arrival of Katrina. Their neighbors might have thought what a crazy a job they had, going out to face the storm when everyone else was hunkering down. They said goodbye to their wives, husbands, children, boyfriends or girlfriends, no doubt saying something like “see you in a few days when it is over.”

And probably not one of them thought, “Tomorrow I’ll be part of history”. Instead, they probably thought, as almost all Coast Guard men and women do when standing the watch, “I’ve got duty tomorrow.”

Try as we may, we haven’t been good at getting these Guardians to understand that each and everyday they are making history. It seems, only after we’re old and retired do we reflect upon the fact that each day of duty, each day of putting on the uniform, is a day in which you are making history.

(Photo courtesy of USCG)

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