Sunday, November 15, 2009

The U S Coast Guard forgotten on Veteran's Day

This is a letter that I emailed to the Detroit Free Press ( They have seen fit to neither publish or respond.

Date: Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 9:22 AM

This letter is to inform the Free Press that it neglected to mention the fifth branch of the military on Veteran's Day. That is the United States Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard is very active in our state and throughout the Great Lakes Region. Unlike the other branches of the military, the Coast Guard performs a daily role right here in our community by enforcing maritime laws, maintaining the aids to navigation in all coastal waters, preventing smuggling, and engaging in life saving search and rescue missions.

Although I have nothing but goodwill and respect for our brothers in the United States Navy, the Coast Guard is a separate branch of the military. You would never dream of lumping in the United States Marine Corps (which actually is under the Department on the Navy, and trains its officers at the United States Naval Academy) as you did in your Sunday editorial chart outlining the deaths in each branch of the military in all of the wars fought by the United States ( in very small print "* Navy totals includes Coast Guard").

Every lighthouse, channel buoy and vessel tracking station on the Great Lakes is maintained by the Coast Guard. Icebreakers like the Cutter USCG Mackinaw (which I proudly served on in the 80's) keep the shipping channels open during winter.

Let us also not forget that during the botched federal response to hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard was the only federal government entity that "got it right".

"Of the estimated 60,000 people that needed to be rescued from rooftops and flooded homes, Coast Guardsmen saved more than 33,500, including rescuing from peril 24,135 lives and evacuating 9,409 medical patients to safety. The rescue and the response efforts were some of the largest in Coast Guard history, involving units from every district as well as a total of 5,600 Coast Guardsmen" (source: USCG official website).

So next Veteran's Day, I humbly ask you not to forget to include Uncle Sam's Can-do Group.

Semper Paratus

Tim C. Gasco (Coast Guard Petty Officer 1980-1984)


Liz said...

Well said.

Tim said...

Thank you Liz, I was beginning to wonder if anybody noticed or cared...