Coast Guard Mutual Assistance –Help is Needed

Cutter Stratton sailor returns home U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew S. Masaschi.

The current budget impasse is creating hardships for Coast Guard members and their families. If you want to help, one of the best ways is through Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. If you would like to make a donation or organize a fund raiser, this is the link.

CG Commander Now Assistant Secretary of the Navy

Tom Harker

The Navy Times reports Senate approval of appointment of four Pentagon Assistant Secretaries, including a retired Coast Guard Commander, Tom Harker, who will serve as Comptroller of the Navy.

A White House news release stated,

“Thomas Harker of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Financial Management and Comptroller.  Mr. Harker currently serves as Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary of Financial Policy for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Mr. Harker served in a mixture of operational and financial management tours before retiring from active duty as a Coast Guard commander in 2012.  Since retiring from active duty, he spent two years in public accounting before returning to the Coast Guard as a civilian.  His final assignment on active duty before retirement was in the Executive Office of the President’s Office of Management and Budget.  Mr. Harker is a recipient of the Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medal, Commendation Medal, and Achievement Medal; the American society of military comptrollers distinguished award for business management; and the association of government accountants achievement of the year award.  Mr. Harker is a graduate of the University of California and received his masters of business administration from the University of Miami.”

According to Government Executive,

“His USCG career has included time as comptroller for the Integrated Support Command, business manager of the Buoy Tender Replacement Project and deputy chief for the Office of Financial Transformation and Compliance.”

President-Elect Picks Retired Marine General John Kelly to Head DHS

John Francis Kelly (born May 11, 1950) is a retired United States Marine Corps general and the former commander of United States Southern Command.

John Francis Kelly (born May 11, 1950, pictured here in 2012) is a retired United States Marine Corps general and the former commander of United States Southern Command.

The New York Times has reported that President-Elect Trump has chosen retired Marine General and former SOUTHCOM commander John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security.

General Kelly served as SOUTHCOM November 19, 2012 – January 16, 2016. That experience should make him extremely familiar with the Coast Guard. He has supported the Coast Guard in the past, and here.

As I understand it, he will need to have a waiver from the Senate to serve because he retired less than seven years ago, but it appears he will have broad bi-partisan support having received the endorsement of President Obama’s former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

CG 36500, Bernie Webber’s Boat, Lives On

The Finest Hours

The Boston Globe has a nice post about the now 69 year old, 36 foot, wooden hull, motor surfboat Bernie Webber and his pick-up crew used to rescue 32 crew members trapped on the stern of an oil tanker, SS Pendleton, that had broken in half in a storm, and the people who restored and care for it.

The story of this rescue was told in a book and is being made into a movie.

I have it on good authority that the organization that maintains the boat could use some support.

Coast Guard Annual Personnel Strength, 1947-2012


Click to enlarge or see the pdf directly.

An interesting chart showing the strength of various components of the Coast Guard’s personnel strength from the bottom of the post-WWII demobilization through FY2012.

In interpreting the chart, note that there are two different vertical axis scales.

A few things seem to stand out.

1. The Coast Guard has not been shrinking. There have been ups and downs but the size of the service is at or near an all time high. It is a little more than twice as large as it was in 1947, but to put that into perspective, the US population has also a bit more than doubled, so the number of Coasties as a percentage of the population is about the same, but not as high as it has been.

2. There was a dip in the number of auxiliarists about ten years ago, but this may be recovering.

3. Recently there has been a notable rise in the number of permanent civilian staff. Could these be (CG-9) Acquisitions staff?

4. The ratio of officers (O-1 and above) to enlisted has shown a steady rise. Where previously there were about one officer for seven or eight enlisted, there are now about one for six. Frankly this is not as much of a change as I thought it might have been.

We should stop saying the Coast Guard is smaller than the New York City Police Department. It is no longer true.

What we can say is, that the Coast Guard is, in terms of personnel, larger than the French Navy or Britain’s Royal Navy or any NATO navy, other than that of the US or Turkey.

I think it would also be true to say, that we have the oldest fleet, and not by just a little bit.