The political landscape in America

September 30, 2005

I was over at Brown Hound earlier today and came across a link John had to one of those political quizzes. You know, one of those pigeon-hole labels (socialist, libertarian, etc.). As you might guess, I…((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

… am a social and economic liberal. Surprised, eh?

No, I didn’t think so.

You are a
Social Liberal
(70% permissive)

and an…
Economic Liberal
(26% permissive)

You are best described as a:Democrat




Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Here’s what the test folks say about the little gizmo.

We wanted to get beyond the two catch-alls of American politics, the Democratic and Republican parties, and see where people actually stand. Parties can bring together people with marginally differing values and make collective action easier. But party platforms can misrepresent their constituents, and blind loyalty to a party can convince individuals to harbor inconsistent views.

The goal of this test was to exactly classify your personal politics, without the traditional labels. We avoided the edgy party issues and focused on fundamental values. Your score is a measure of what you believe in, economically and socially.

Higher permissiveness, on either axis, indicates a “live and let live” philosophy. Of course, we’re almost conditioned in America, “Land of the Free”, to think positively of such a philosophy. But practically speaking, permissiviness (or its opposite, regulation) can create any number of outcomes:

For example, on the economic axis, a highly permissive system, like the American system of the early 1900s, might mean things like low taxes and increased scientific innovation. It might also result, as it did back then, in unrestricted child labor and millions of poor people with black lung.

At the other end of the economic spectrum, a highly regulated system might conserve the environment, establish national health care, and eliminate poverty. But as we’ve learned from the Soviet system, extreme regulation can also lead to stagnation, sameness, and unhappiness.

If you liked the test, forward it. Thanks for participating.

Try it. And then come back and tell me where you fall; I’d be interested to hear where readers end up.

And, I should note this: John, the Brown Hound, is an economic and social conservative, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get along. We both agree that diversity is a strength — whether it’s diversity as shipmates or diversity as citizens of this great country. And diversity isn’t just race or color or creed or gender, but also political beliefs.

Due to the “exceptional circumstances” surrounding the Coast Guard’s response and recovery with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Coast Guard is not responding to any FOIA requests dealing with Kate and Rita. While the usual process for FOIA is to handle requests at the lowest level possible (where the records actually are), there seems to be a tack to consolidating responses.((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

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Hmmm… I’m tempted to put in a FOIA just to see what sort of response I get.

Outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers (U.S. Air Force) inspects the troops during his Farewell Tribute and welcoming ceremony for incoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace (U. S. Marine Corps) at Ft. Myer in Arlington, Virginia, September 30, 2005. (Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Heard today on CNN that General Pace is like General Myers in that they are both “joint” warriors. Indeed, this photo makes that clear: General Myers, his aide (U.S. Army), and the contingent from the Coast Guard Honor Guard


(This post corrected at 8:58pm to indicate proper service relationships in the photo.)

My sister-in-law called yesterday. She and her family, along with the extended family, live in Erath, LA. Erath, as you can see, didn’t fare all that well with Rita. Anyway, she called ’cause they were unable to register with FEMA by phone; they kept getting cut off. And, they have no computer access. Since we run Linux/Firefox at home, we’re unable to register online for them (FEMA requires IE 6.0 or higher). Oh, they make it so damn easy.In case you missed it, the Commandant announced recently that the new National Security Cutter has been launched. She’s quite a beauty:
((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

I imagine that this new cutter will increase our capabilities and will increase our stature throughout the world.

Originally uploaded by destinyuk*When I ought to be asleep, but after two nights of twelve-hour mids and three days of sleeping in the afternoon, my sleep cycle is screwed up… I’m feeling like these youngsters, but haven’t had the alcohol and drugs…

So, things that amaze me:

That words can inflame;

That sarcasm, cynicism, and irony aren’t recognized or appreciated;

That some people can’t discern between words and actions;

That the internet is both a place which encourages transparency and which allows for complete anonominity;

That even at the age of forty-four, I seem to evoke strong feelings in people;

That some people don’t really believe in political discourse or democracy;

That understanding that disagreement doesn’t mean contempt isn’t seen by everyone;

That anyone can think that one or two blog entries defines a person, particulary when the other 800 entries haven’t been read;

That some people still think followership means to be blind;

That some people still think leadership means to dictate;

That noticing differences is easier than noticing similiarities;

That anger doesn’t do anyone any good and only eats away at the heart;

That good men and women can agree to disagree while still believing in the same vision… and that some people just can’t bring themselves to allow a disagreement to lie fallow;

That pettiness is still alive and well;

That there are those who are forthright and those who aren’t;

That humor evades some pucker-faced people…

I’m sure there’s more, but instead of blogging, I’m going to catch a few hours of sleep.

My thanks to all of you who continue to drop by and visit… those who are supportative and, yes, those who aren’t so supportive… Dialogue is a great thing…

And it’s not even close to over yet.

We seem to be in recovery; and recovery is nowhere near as exciting as response

new diet coke
Originally uploaded by easementI crave Diet Coke.

The bubbles.

The tang.

The taste.

The buzz.

The rumble.

Water & NoDoz just don’t cut it.

Fun facts learned on watch: Aaron Brown of CNN’s NewsNight With Aaron Brown.

There is life after the Coast Guard!

We can all look forward to years outside of blue.

Bush on TV!
Originally uploaded by charmingmanIt’s only a joke, folks, it’s only a joke.

And if you don’t have a sense of humor or feel that any humor directed at the Commander-in-Chief is inappropriate, read no further.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

For the rest of you, this arrived in my inbox this evening.

President Bush, while visiting a primary school class, found himself in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked the President if he would like to lead the discussion on the word “tragedy.” So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a “tragedy.”

One little boy stood up and offered, “If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a runaway tractor comes along and knocks him dead, that would be a tragedy.”

“No,” said the President, “that would be an accident.”

A little girl raised her hand: “If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy.”

“I’m afraid not,” explained the President. “That’s what we would call a great loss.”

The room went silent. No other children would volunteer. President Bush searched the room. “Isn’t there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?”

Finally at the back of the room a small boy raised his hand. In a quiet voice he said, “If a plane carrying President Bush were struck by a missile and blown to smithereens that would be a tragedy.”

“Fantastic!” exclaimed Bush, “That’s right. And can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?”

“Well,” said the boy, “because it sure as hell wouldn’t be a great loss, and it probably wouldn’t be an accident either.”

And if it seems like I’m one of those folks who sits around and critcizes everything, I’m not… this is humor.

And, if you think I’m using contemptuous words, I’m not… this is humor…

I don’t watch a slew of TV; tonight we on the watch floor watched Commander in Chief on ABC. Geena Davis is the President (and she has gahones, getting the US Military to snatch and grab a woman about to be executed in Nigeria).

But the reason we watched was simple: Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Thomas Craig, formerly of Sector Hampton Roads and now on the Atlantic Area staff, played a four-star Marine Corps general. Nice promotion, Chief, nice promotion.

Rumor is that Tom’s already been offered another role in a different show.

Now, that’s a good transition to civilian life. Perhaps he’ll be another Jesse Ventura.

This just in: if you are held hostage by a crazy homicidal maniac, give him meth.

Ashley Smith, the woman who says she persuaded suspected courthouse gunman Brian Nichols to release her by talking about her faith, discloses in a new book that she gave him methamphetamine during the hostage ordeal.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

I guess we ought to all keep meth on hand in case we’re held hostage. 😉

Check out my earlier posts about Ashley Smith:

$70K for former Atlanta hostage


She was a champ

So I guess it takes the Bible and methamphetamine to calm the nerves of a murderer.

United States Coast Guard flight mechanic Alan Maloney looks over the storm damage caused by Hurricane Rita in Oak Grove, Louisiana, September 24, 2005. Hurricane Rita left the U.S. Gulf Coast reeling on Saturday from two powerful storms in less than a month, with renewed flooding in New Orleans, widespread power outages and roads across hundreds of miles closed by debris, although damage was less than feared. (REUTERS Photo/David L. Ryan, Pool)

I continue to be amazed at the devastation caused by those women, Rita and Katrina.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

It just goes on, and on, and on, and on.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter is seen flying over Oak Grove, La., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. (AP Photo/David L. Ryan, Pool)

Not that I would wish this destruction on someone else, but I’m glad I don’t live in southern Louisiana.

Vice Admiral Allen is still getting great press. On the all-news channels, he’s still on nearly every hour or so.

Earlier, I’ve posted links to various articles about Allen. Here’s the best yet

Standing in a deserted air terminal in the early-morning dark of September 14, America’s man of the moment realized that his honeymoon had lasted not quite 24 hours.

The newspapers in Coast Guard Vice Adm. Thad Allen’s hands all led with criticisms from the Louisiana governor that the federal government was failing to retrieve bodies from the fetid waters that still engulfed New Orleans. The apparent failure to recover the bodies was adding insult and yet another grievance to the many injuries that Louisianans had already suffered.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

Allen called Blanco and in his reasonable style asked her, “Governor, have I done something to give you the impression that I’m interested in anything else but helping the people of Louisiana?” In truth, Allen had already interceded with a reluctant Pentagon to deploy military mortuary units to New Orleans, and these units even then were engaged in the grim business of retrieving the bodies of Katrina’s victims. Although Blanco quickly softened her criticism, the incident was clearly a harbinger of more friction to come.

In times of war or crisis, the nation always looks for a leader to step forward and take charge, and usually that someone is in uniform. In the American pantheon, such men of action are accorded special honor, but potential failure and ignominy beckon as well. Consider Gens. Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell in Operation Desert Storm. Then think of Gen. William Westmoreland in Vietnam.

Certainly Allen didn’t have to be warned about the perils of his new position. He had watched firsthand as his predecessor, FEMA Director Michael Brown, was replaced and publicly humiliated. Allen, an officer known for engendering fierce loyalty in his subordinates, had called a number of the most trusted and competent officers who have worked for him before — officers his grandfather would have called “dogs that could hunt.” Some on his newly assembled team warned Allen that he was taking on a nearly impossible task from a very exposed position — the admiral was becoming the most recognizable face in a disaster of historic proportions.

Well, he and Honore, anyway… And, as to those “dogs that could hunt,” they’ve been with the Admiral almost everywhere he goes.

Allen knows a bit about planning for the short and the long term. He’s done it with the Coast Guard, and he’s doing it now with Hurricane response and recovery.

When asked about his plan for addressing the short- and long-term objectives in the Katrina recovery effort, Allen said that in his experience, strategic plans were shelved about the time a date was stamped on them. He was more interested in communicating a clear strategic intent so that everyone involved in what was already a massive effort could swim in generally the same direction, like a large school of fish that instinctively turned at the same moment.

The first guiding principle would be to treat all of Katrina’s many victims like family. In terms of strategic intent, Allen drew a simple pyramid. At the bottom, he scribbled in the Superdome, a symbol of the botched rescue effort. At the top, he wrote “New Orleans 2.0,” representing the ultimate vision of a future Big Easy resurrected from the foul waters. As you moved up the pyramid, Allen explained, the focus shifted from disaster response to recovery, and the objectives changed based loosely on psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.”

“If you are drowning, the first thing you want is dry land,” Allen said. “If you are on dry land, the next thing you want is something to eat and drink. Having eaten, you want a place to sleep, and then you want a better place to sleep. Then you want aid to start rebuilding and getting your life back in order.”

Truer words haven’t been spoken in a long while.

Here’s an interesting bit: Allen has been ensuring that he hears everyone: the president, the mayor, those who are homeless…

When a reporter marveled that he found time for each group, Allen recalled getting in trouble as a young boy: He had climbed up some water pipes from the base of River Point Island in San Francisco Bay, where his father was working in a Coast Guard carpenter’s shop. At the top of the bluff, he remembers, he saw a beautiful mansion where an admiral lived. Forty years later, Allen had walked through the front door of the mansion as an honored guest, and he looked down the hill and saw the same water pipes he had scaled so long ago.

“You know, that kind of history really grounds you,” said Allen. “I think that’s why I don’t tend to get overawed by people, or overwhelmed by situations. On some level, I figure we’re all the same. You just have to remember where you came from.”

Rumor on the watch floor is that Allen is looking to pass the PFO responsibilities off to someone, soon. Perhaps the PFO job will go Scott Wells, the chief FEMA representative in New Orleans. That’ll be too bad, losing all that good talk time on the big screen from our man in blue.

There’s a bit that says the PFO staff is looking to be out of business by mid-December. The staff is

developing a 100-day master plan for the handoff of the Katrina response effort to a Joint Federal and State Recovery Office, a semi-permanent midwife that would likely spend years and as much as $200 billion nurturing the Gulf Coast’s rebirth. Barring another hurricane or unforeseen disaster, New Orleans and the surrounding area should get a little better with each new day.

There’s a job: being a part of the JFSRO. I figure that’s worth a decade of employment.Now here’s an interesting bit from the Dalai Lama:

The Dalai Lama told 36,000 people at Rutgers Stadium that the concept of war was outdated and young people have a responsibility to make this century one of peace.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

“This whole planet is just us,” the 70-year-old exiled monk said Sunday. “Therefore, destruction of another area essentially is destruction of yourself.”

Tibet’s spiritual leader also urged the audience to develop a wider world perspective, not just focus on “America, America, America.”

I wonder if this is one of those things like thinking win-win?

You’ve heard of that from Stephen Covey’s work, right. Think Win-Win. It’s one of those habits…

Question: How many people does it take to think win-win?

If you answer anything other than one, you got the answer wrong. Thinking win-win only takes one person.

Ever played one of those X-Y games? You know, where you can either compete or cooperate. When both sides trust, everybody wins more.

For us to reach the Dalai Lama’s vision, can we do it by ones and twos?

This is what Democracy looks like!
Originally uploaded by DrivenWhen the emperor is wearing no clothes, who is responsible for pointing out the nakedness?
McPaper beat me to the punch:

Hurricane Rita left this question: If a successful emergency evacuation involves 100-mile highway backups, motorists running out of gas and water, widespread road rage and the death of 23 seniors in a freak bus accident, what would a failure look like?

I hate to think.When I’m the student who ruins the grading curve for everyone else, I wonder just how smart they are.
Originally uploaded by AA99I wonder if the President feels like this as his home state gets battered and New Orleans once again sinks beneath the waters.
The cynic in me suspects that only because it’s his home state…((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

Under intense pressure to show that he has learned the practical and political lessons of Hurricane Katrina, President Bush planned on Thursday to pack his foul-weather gear and head to Texas on Friday ahead of Hurricane Rita, trying to make clear that he is directing an all-out federal effort to cope with the storm.

Mr. Bush, who was photographed strumming a guitar in San Diego on the morning that New Orleans was being flooded 23 days ago, appeared intent on ensuring there would be no off-message pictures this time and no question of where his attention was focused.

Ah, come on, he’s only headed down south ’cause he’s from Texas. He didn’t give a hoot about poor ol’ NOLA.

And then he’s going to Northcom to watch a little TV.


Originally uploaded by pseudochefOn watch.

Rita is damn big.

Trying to wean myself off Diet Coke; drinking water. Took NoDoze before watch to help offset withdrawal symptoms.

Now wired. Shaking… ought to go back to the Diet Coke.

Turns out the various email addresses the Coast Guard had for Katrina information was too much.


Guess that was too difficult for Joe Citizen to comprehend.((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

So, here’s the latest guidance:

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Vice Admiral Allen has been all over the news. On CNN Daybreak this morning, they asked for viewers to comment on the disagreement between Allen and the mayor; the mayor says, “Come on home.” Allen doesn’t agree.

Said one viewer, “Listen to Admiral Allen. He’s no Chicken Little. If he says to stay away, then stay away.”

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

Okay, that was me. I was surprised they read my email on air, but they did. Peter from Virginia and no one on watch thought it might be me.

Anyway, Allen was on Meet the Press yesterday. Here’s the transcript

Well, Tim, as I was assigned the larger responsibilities for the principal federal official for the entire Gulf response a week ago, I’ve been consulting with FEMA and other agencies. We have some significant challenges ahead of us. One of them is that, with the evacuation of New Orleans and the surrounding parishes, these folks went to a lot of different areas. And trying to reach out and find out where they’re at, touch them and give them individual assistance is becoming a challenge because of the broad geographical area that’s been covered.

Additionally, because of the wide swath that the storm cut, our ability to put disaster recovery centers out there has been somewhat limited. In some cases, we do not have a permissive environment to operate in. Until yesterday, general re-entry into St. Bernard’s Parish, for example, is not possible.

So what we are doing is looking at where we have infrastructure, where we can get leased space to put our disaster recovery centers in there and we’re working at best speed. I’ve consulted with David Paulison, who’s the acting director of FEMA, and have asked that all available FEMA employees that are not otherwise engaged, that are capable of this type of activity, are trained in it, be sent this direction.

In the mean time, no 911 service; no potable water; no public services. Yeh, it’s not quite time to return to the Big Easy yet.
Originally uploaded by waldogThere will be a million stories about these last three weeks. They will be sad. They will be touching. They will be uplifting. They will be stories we want to tell, again and again. And, they will be stories we hope aren’t true.

In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn’t registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

You’ve got to read this.

Four of us stayed at the hotel, two of us stayed at the station, and everybody else ran like I don’t know what. They went to the parking lot of Breaux-Mart. They were like Battlestar Galactica. They were fleeing the Cylons, and they didn’t even know what the Cylons were. And we were like, we’ve got a hotel, we’ve got high ground, why the fuck should we go? We’re 50 feet from the bridge. The water’s not going to rise so quick that we can’t get out of here if we have to. We can just sit on the fucking bridge for the remainder if we need to. But it’s not going to come to that. I’m watching the water rise through the city, and it’s rising at a rate of six inches to a foot every hour and a half.

Hurricane Katrina and the after-effects have set the political world topsy-turvey.

At the very least, Katrina has transformed the president’s economic policy, converting him into one of the biggest-spending presidents in U.S. history. Philip Verleger, an energy economist in Colorado, said that in many respects Bush has adopted the “guns and butter” policy of former President Lyndon Johnson–with one major addition, large tax cuts.

Bush also is seeking to make his tax cuts permanent and on Friday rejected a tax increase to pay for hurricane relief, saying other federal spending would have to be cut. Some budget experts said that at a time of war, soaring gasoline prices and a natural disaster, Bush is not asking the American people to make any sacrifices.

“Sacrifice?” Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation, asked rhetorically. “At this time, there is none.”

Well, sort of.

You may remember before Hurricane Katrina, I was blogging a bit about the Navy’s treatment of a veteran who is trying to spreadgood military news… and the Navy has decided to cut off sending him news since broadcasting good news (advancements, graduations, military decorations, etc) is a security risk.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

We’ve had a couple of weeks off from this topic, but, sadly, the issue is still very much alive. Check out Gunner’s Blog for an running overview of this issue.

Here’s the short version: Charlie Mitchell set up a web site that posts press/news releases issued by the DoD about service members. The sea-going services are served by the Fleet Hometown News Service. It’s a way to give military members good press. You know, a young man or woman graduates from boot camp and gets their name in their hometown paper.

Somebody from the Navy’s Office of the Chief of Information decided that Mr. Mitchell’s website, which put all the releases in one place, was a security risk. So they stopped sending him releases.

I note the Army and Air Force Hometown News Center didn’t stop sending releases. Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, it now seems that no only has the Navy’s Chief of Information black-balled Mr. Mitchell, but they have a list of websites they want to shut down, and Mr. Mitchell’s website is on that list. That’s right: the Navy has a list of websites they want to shut down, and one of them on that list is attempting to promote good military news.

So, the good people inside the Beltway are hassling Gunner Mitchell, and he’s looking to fight back. I suggested he and I and you — that would be all you readers, use the Freedom of Information Act to start getting to the bottom of this.

I encourage you to do that.

But, you know, I have to say that all with the Navy is not bad. No, I like the Navy. You know; the Coast Guard is that core around which the Navy forms in time of war… or in times of national distress.

Check out this posting on Gunner’s Blog, an email from the CO of the IWO JIMA.

Gulfport, Miss. (Sept. 10, 2005) – Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen thanks Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport, for their hard work in support of Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. The CNO and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Terry Scott are traveling the gulf coast to get a personal assessment of damages caused by the hurricane and to thank the Sailors on ships and at naval facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Navy’s involvement in the Hurricane Katrina humanitarian assistance operations are led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in conjunction with the Department of Defense. U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer’s Mate Johnny Bivera.I received a copy of an email the Chief of Naval Operations wrote after touring the Gulf coast. It went, originally, to three and four star flag officers; I’m thinking it’s now “out there.”

I made a day trip to the Gulf Coast this weekend to visit with and thank our Sailors for the extraordinary work they are doing in the recovery and relief effort. I spent time in at the Seabee base in Gulfport, NSA New Orleans and NAS/JRB New Orleans, as well as aboard HARRY S TRUMAN, BATAAN, TORTUGA and IWO JIMA.

It was at once both a grim and an incredibly uplifting experience. Some of my impressions.

First, the pictures on TV don’t even begin to do justice to the scope of the devastation. I saw whole neighborhoods completely obliterated; the only evidence they ever existed at all being the faint outline of cement blocks that once formed the foundations of houses.

I saw massive casino barges in Biloxi thrown hundreds of yards inland, wooded areas so shredded they looked from the air like a spilled box of toothpicks, and much of New Orleans still a tepid, festering lake. There were very few people on the streets that weren’t military or emergency workers.

Comparing it to a war zone is not at all a stretch.

Things are starting to turn around. The JTF has really taken shape, becoming more efficient and more organized every day. Communications across the region have improved dramatically. Dewatering efforts are proceeding ahead of the projected pace. And currently rescue teams are finding fewer and fewer people in need of immediate help.

The Navy’s contribution to this success has been critical. I don’t need to tell you that. We’ve been there since practically before the storm made landfall — BATAAN chased it in weathering 12-14 foot seas and began flying

SAR missions within hours of the storm’s departure — and we are still there making a difference.

Joe Kilkenny is doing a bang-up job as the JFMCC. He’s got a plan, and he is executing it with great effectiveness.

The Seabees are repairing infrastructure and clearing debris at such a pace they have actually inspired local citizens to feel more optimistic about the future.

Sailors from TORTUGA are going door-to-door looking for and rescuing the house-bound.

Helicopter aircrews from TRUMAN and BATAAN are still delivering food and water and other basic necessities.

SHREVEPORT Sailors are cleaning up the St. Bernard Parish Courthouse.

In fact, just about all our ships pierside are housing and feeding and caring for people in need.

Then there’s IWO JIMA, who put up POTUS overnight on Sun. Pierside at the Riverwalk, IWO has become a command center, hospital, airport, hotel and restaurant all rolled into one.

I ran into VADM Thad Allen in the p-way. Thad, as you may know, is the senior federal officer on scene, running the whole show. He said, “Mike, you should consider renaming this ship The City of New Orleans.” That says it all.

I couldn’t help but sneak a smile, having just given a speech up in Newport about the power of naval forces to win hearts and minds by serving as “cities at sea.” I used our contributions to the international effort in the wake of last December’s tsunami as my prime example in that speech.

How little did I realize we’d be doing that sort of work on our own soil so soon.

It just goes to show you how very unpredictable this world really is. But, as I made sure to tell the Sailors I talked to, it also goes to show you how very flexible and adaptable naval forces really are.

If you want a picture of the future of sea basing, consider the image of BATAAN, a Mexican amphibious ship and a Dutch frigate anchored offshore sending boatloads of supplies to the beach … or HST anchored not far off and the only things flying off her flight deck are helicopters … or Mexican and U.S. Sailors, side by side, combing the beach and clearing debris … or a JTF — with significant civil and non-governmental agencies represented — headquartered aboard a U.S. Navy ship, led by a two-star Army general reporting to a three-star admiral in the Coast Guard, who is also headquartered aboard that same ship.

Perhaps the most moving thing I did Saturday was visit with a group of ombudsmen in Gulfport.

Many of them had lost everything. They were hurting, barely getting by on their own, and yet here they were at the FFSC looking for ways to help other Navy families. You could see the desperation and the hope on their faces, hear it in their cracking voices. Tough on the heart, to be sure, and yet somehow good for it at the same time.

I was humbled just to be in the room with them. You want to talk about courage? These ladies had it to spare.

There are, we estimate, about 10,000 Sailors affected by the hurricane in some form or fashion. There may be more. I pledged to those ombudsmen our

Navy’s full support in getting them and the families they represent back up on their feet. We have a lot of work to do to return their lives to some sense of normalcy, but we need to make it the highest of priorities.

It is most certainly mine I can assure you. And I know I can rely on your support.

Again, truly an unforgettable day. In the face of unspeakable disaster and suffering, our Sailors have stood tall and helped provide relief to thousands. They are not alone, of course. It’s a total team effort, involving city, state and other federal agencies, not to mention our sister services, allies and relief organizations. But they have accorded themselves well as part of that team and reflected nothing but the very best back on each and every one of the rest of us.

At NAS New Orleans I came across a bunch of Seabees working feverishly on the wooden platform for what was going to be a temporary dining facility. It was a contract job, but the contractor was having problems rounding up the necessary manpower and resources. The Seabees didn’t ask permission, didn’t wait for orders. They simply rolled up their sleeves and went to work.

“Hey, they needed help,” one said. “And we know how to do this stuff.”

We do, indeed, know how to do this stuff, and we are doing it exceptionally well. Standing amongst them, I was never more proud to call myself an American Sailor.



You know, I suddenly had a thought: what would the Navy’s Chief of Information think about me publishing this email? Perhaps he’d rather I just link to the official releases? Here’s the BATAAN’s release; and here’s one from his stop in Gulfport, MS; and, finally, the release from his visit to CITY OF NEW ORLEANS (what used to be the IWO JIMA).

Me, I think it’s great that the Navy is supporting the Coast Guard as we provide oversight over all federal response to Katrina…


I think some folks are confused about Vice Admiral Thad Allen’s current role in the Katrina ops. Headlines today scream:Coast Guard Questions Big Easy Timeline
But Allen isn’t representing the Coast Guard in his current role.((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

You’ll note that Allen has shifted from his “operational dress uniform” to business casual. And the shirt has FEMA emblazoned on it.

Yes, Allen isn’t an employee of FEMA; he is still a CG member. But he is the designated Principle Federal Official. He is the federal official designated by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to oversee the federal government’s response to Katrina. He no longer speaks for, or represents, the Coast Guard. To say the “Coast Guard questions” the timeline just ain’t so. DHS might; hell, FEMA might, even. But not the CG. Sure, a Coast Guard flag officer does, but he’s not speaking for the service anymore.

I was expecting the shift from uniform to biz casual, and I wondered how it would go over. In the messages this week that went out sending Coasties to Allen’s staff — and he’s taken quite a few — the paragraph about uniform said something like “ODU and business casual, such as khaki slacks a knit collared shirt.” I think one of the things Allen wants to show is that this is not a Coast Guard operation; too many blue suits and people might think we’re in charge.

Well, our people might be in key leadership spots, but they are acting as DHS employees working hand-in-hand with the professionals at FEMA.

I mentioned above he’s taken staffers with him. He has taken people for years. When he came to the Atlantic Area, he brought the folks with him he wanted. When he went to HQ as the chief of staff, he did the same. I’m not surprised he’s taken people to the PFO job.

Yesterday I was talking with a colleague, and he mentioned that everything was going to be okay as Katrina was with Allen. I thought, “Huh? Maybe the thought of Katrina. Maybe the remains of her destruction. But she’s gone.”

Turns out his military aide is an officer with Katrina as her first name. We think she’s going be “Kat” this week. 😉

Awoke this morning to find this little nugget staring me in the face:

Bush Rules Out Tax Hike to Fund Recovery

President Bush on Friday ruled out raising taxes to pay the massive costs of Gulf Coast reconstruction, saying other government spending must be cut to pay for a recovery effort expected to swell the national debt by $200 billion or more.

Now, I’m no economist, but I figure if we’re not going to raise taxes, what are we going to do?((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

We’re certainly not getting out of Iraq any time soon, Thank you very much, Mr. President.

Let me guess. I’ll name the states that will receive significantly less funding — across the board — including highways & transportation, health & medical, education, etc. etc. etc. Let me guess. Washington, Oregon, and California. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, and the six states which make up New England.

Anyone want to suggest otherwise?

Oh, and for those of you who don’t see it… those are the “blue states.”

CGC Cochito 87329
Originally uploaded by jimfrazierI posted earlier today about Deepwater. And, I’ve been posting for the last two-three weeks about Katrina.

And this evening I stumbled on this essay by Dr. James Jay Carafano and Alane Kochems which suggests Coast Guard’s Finest Hour Ignored by Congress

While I’m not sure Congress has ignored us…

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

… it is certainly an interesting suggestion. Published by the Heritage Foundation, they write,

In recent weeks, Americans have witnessed some of the most disturbing and tragic television in our history. Hurricane Katrina’s wake left a collage of images—loss, grieving, suffering, and devastation. There were, however, also portraits of heroism and hope—such as U.S. Coast Guard helicopters and ships rescuing victims of the storm and the floods that followed in its aftermath. So far, the men and women of the Coast Guard have saved over 33,000 people endangered by Katrina, demonstrating as they have again and again since 9/11 the importance of the many security and safety missions they perform in the service of the nation. Congress should recognize their contributions by fully funding the Coast Guard’s modernization budget.

They go on to suggest,

While the Coast Guard performed valiantly, with a more modernized force it could have done even more.

They suggest Congress isn’t doing enough.

I’m not sure. I saw a letter from on of the House members from Maryland praising the Coast Guard. If I can find it again, I’ll post it.

But, certainly, there is the issue that our stuff — shore facilities, cutters, small boats, weapons, aircraft — are falling down around us. And, there is scuttle in the agency about trying to leverage Katrina to provide financial help to Katrina.

I worked a bit today — and need to finish it this weekend — on a request to provide information on Deepwater assets that participated in the Katrina operations and the impact those specific assets had on the operations. I think there’s a hope that the data will show the Deepwater assets worked better.

Considering we don’t have any true, built-from-the-ground-up, Deepwater assets, I’m not sure there’s anything we can really show. The best we can do is look at one particular flavor of the Dolphin helicopter that’s gone through a Deepwater-sponsered renovation.

In the mean time, I’m hoping the COCHITO continues to protect Hampton Roads.

I thought this wasn’t like this anymore, but…

Head on over to Google, drop in the word failure, and feel a little lucky…

I don’t knowhowGoogle knows, but…

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))


And here’s the father of the bomb. Well, not that bomb, but google bombing in general.

I wonder what other havoc we can cause?

President George W. Bush delivers remarks on hurricane recovery efforts during an Address to the Nation in Jackson Square in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. White House photo by Eric Draper.

Did the President’s speech last night make you all warm and fuzzy inside?

Oh, like me, you missed it? Well never fear. You can go here and read the whole thing… all 26 minutes worth.

Or perhaps you’d rather read the short fact-sheet version with just the highlights.

Here’s the most important thing he said, at the top of the third paragraph into the speech:

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

These days of sorrow and outrage have also been marked by acts of courage and kindness that make all Americans proud. Coast Guard and other personnel rescued tens of thousands of people from flooded neighborhoods.

Er, he didn’t sing the same praises of FEMA.

Later, he noted, (and the emphasis is mine)

Many of the men and women of the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States military, the National Guard, Homeland Security, and state and local governments performed skillfully under the worst conditions. Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well-coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days. It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces — the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment’s notice.

He must have been reading my blog: even though the CG responded appropriately, there was so much more we could have done… had the system been up to it. Even we — and our leaders in the Coast Guard may not want to hear this — were overwhelmed in the first few days.
President George W. Bush arrives on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima escorted by General Russ Honore in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. White House photo by Eric Draper.Sure, we did better than some others, but… One of our strengths is the bias we have for people onscene to just act.

I’ve poo-pooed, before, Don Phillips book Character in Action: The U.S. Coast Guard on Leadership. Perhaps, however, I have been too strong on him. We do, indeed, “instill a bias for action.”

Anyway, check out what the President had to say. And, then, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it really a good idea to build a city below sea level? How successful has man been in taming nature’s wrath?

2. What amount of money — in the form of taxes — are each and every one of us willing to cough up so New Orleans can be rebuilt?

3. Are buildings really the be-all, or is there more that is needed to be done?

4. How long will it be before we forget?

5. Do you still remember 9/11… or has it faded in your memory?

Peace, friends. Peace.

ADIZ Patrol Near Rhode Island
Originally uploaded by radioflyer7Another typical day for the US Coast Guard: The ADIZ, or Air Defense Identification Zone, is the first line of defense from the international waters along the US coast line.

Perhaps you’ve heard of “Deepwater,” the Coast Guard’s attempt at modernizing it’s offshore capabilities, in the interest of national security, of course. The project is huge and involves nearly all of the Coast Guard’s money for major acquisition over the next 20-plus years. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to be built (including shore facilities… with the possible exception of those that suffered Katrina’s wrath).

But that’s okay, because Deepwater is going to use innovative solutions to long-term problems. It is the Coast Guard’s answer to everything

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))

Here’s what the Coast Guard has to say about Deepwater:

To continue to meet America’s 21st century maritime threats and challenges, the Coast Guard initiated the Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) Program, the largest and most innovative acquisition in the Coast Guard’s history. The IDS is not just “new ships and aircraft,” but an integrated approach to upgrading existing assets while transitioning to newer, more capable platforms with improved systems for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and innovative logistics support. This new “system of systems” will significantly contribute to the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, as well as the improved ability to intercept, engage, and deter those activities that pose a direct challenge to U.S. sovereignty and security. Deepwater will provide the means to extend our layered maritime defenses from our ports and coastal areas hundreds of miles to sea.

The IDS Program focuses on system-wide capabilities and not assets. The Coast Guard began the design process with the goal to acquire the performance capabilities required to perform the full range of Coast Guard deepwater missions. The Coast Guard is focusing on the overall required capabilities rather than the individual assets. This performance-based acquisition approach gave industry the flexibility to propose the optimal mix of assets necessary to meet the needs of the Coast Guard for Deepwater missions.

Three competing industry consortium teams bid on the Integrated Deepwater System contract. The Coast Guard selected the contractor who offered the best value from among the premiere system integration experts in the world, forming a partnership to successfully deliver the IDS. Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, provided the best value to the Coast Guard and was selected as the Service’s industry partner, or the Systems Integrator.

Deepwater is a long-term acquisition program, but work to upgrade existing assets and acquire the first new aircraft and ships has already begun. According to the notional IDS implementation plan, the system will be completed in approximately 20 years.

It turns out, actually, that they’ve found a way to miniturize things; as the photo shows, Deepwater is going to give us mini-helicopters… which we’re going to be able to fly over charts, rather than real water and land.

And that, my friends, is how we will patrol the ADIZ. We will simulate rescues, patrols, and are other missions, allowing the real work to be be left undone.

Afterall, that’s the federal government way, isn’t it?

Coast Guard flood assistance
Originally uploaded by Tidewater MuseMembers of a Louisville, Ky., based Coast Guard disaster area response team approach a house in a flooded area near Lake Pontchartrain today. Coast Guard crews continue to search for survivors of Hurricane Katrina who may be trapped in their homes.

U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 3rd Class L.F. Chambers

From earlier this week: Coasties continue their work on the ground (or that would be “on the water”) in New Orleans.

Picture lifted from the Associated Press… Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, Commander of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, gives an update on his agency’s work on the fractured levee system in New Orleans during a briefing at the Pentagon in Washington Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. (AP Photos/Heesoon Yim)

So, here we are in the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Incident Management Team for Hurricane Katrina operations. We spend most of our time gathering and collating and synthesizing information. We feed the beast. And most of the time, we wonder “why bother?”

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post; read more of this musing.))

So, today, we put out our usual situation report (SITREP) and then our slides, all of which provides a detailed look the Coast Guard’s current operations.

And then, when it slowed down, we’re checking the message board, answering questions, and trading sea stories; CNN is playing in the background. And all of sudden, someone jumps up and yells, “That’s our slide!”

It’s a Pentagon briefing, and Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, Commander of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is briefing the press with our slide. A product we developed!

We’re not sure how he got it, but I guess some people actually use the, er, stuff we sent out.

Anyway, the ten of us broke into applause; we’re famous. Ok, not really, but it was still a good feeling.

The watchstanders in the command center next door wondered what was going on.

And, as to the brief, well, check it out for yourself here

Let me shift now to what we’re doing for our own inherent Corps of Engineers missions. We are responsible for maintaining navigation in federal channels and harbors. The two big factors there are the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, which runs from Texas all the way to Florida — a very important commercial artery that had to be opened up very quickly.

We were able to open that for the most part, except for in the inner harbor here in downtown New Orleans. We have to go around a lock that’s located there. The lock’s operational, but the bridges that you — have to be lifted to move traffic through that inner harbor are not operational. And we also have some obstructions inside the harbor that need to be moved. So we’ve actually created a bypass that goes down the Mississippi River to a place called Baptiste Collette, out Baptiste Collette and back up through the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, and then back into the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway. So that waterway is now open to full depth for traffic moving east and west.

The other very important artery here is the Mississippi River itself. That is now open for full service to 45-feet draft day and night, except for one point down here at the southwest pass as vessels actually enter or depart, they can only do that in daylight right now because the Coast Guard is still in the process of placing aids to navigation down there. But for all practical purposes, the Mississippi River is now open for both deep-draft and shallow-draft traffic.

Keep in mind, New Orleans sits at mile marker 116, so it’s over 100 miles from the Gulf and open water up through the Mississippi River to New Orleans, and that’s all open down to full depth.

The Mississippi Gulf Outlet is a 36-foot channel that receives some shoaling. It’s open to 22 feet now. And then we have various ports along the Gulf Coast that we’re responsible for channels in, and you can see by the indications here which ones are open: Mobile is open with no restrictions, and then the ports at Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Gulfport have restrictions on them. I understand that just yesterday, the captain of the port in New Orleans has declared the Port of New Orleans also open. That’s not to say it’s at full capacity, but the captain of the port will say that we can now move traffic in and out of that port.

A very import port down here is Port Fourchon, which supports the offshore oil industry. We have that port operational with some restrictions, but that has been a critical effort to make sure that port was up and operating.

In addition to our navigation mission, under Public Law 8499, the Corps of Engineers can operate as an independent agency. And what we will do is go and conduct surveys of all the structures in the area, both navigation and flood control, and then begin to make repairs on those. So we’re working under those authorities with the local parishes to repair the levee systems that were damaged during the event.

Wondering what the leadership is saying to employees of the Department of Homeland Security? Well, wonder no more.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post; read more of this musing.))


FROM: Michael Chertoff /s

SUBJECT: Hurricane Katrina Recovery Efforts

The Department of Homeland Security is fully engaged in an unprecedented response and recovery effort as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Through FEMA, the resources and assets from all DHS component agencies, and the support of the President, we are helping people to restore their livelihoods. To those of you who lost homes or loved ones in this disaster, you have my prayers and my sympathy. To those of you working around the clock to support those on the ground and those of you risking your lives to save others in the affected region, you have my utmost respect and appreciation.

I have seen first hand the total commitment from you, the employees of the Department of Homeland Security. Whether dispensing meals, water, clothing, and wheelchairs, rescuing people through innovative means and in harrowing conditions, or providing answers to questions or a shoulder on which to lean, you are making a difference in the lives of our fellow Americans.

Here are a few notable examples of the truly tremendous work that is being done by Homeland Security employees, other federal agencies, and state and local entities, most under incredibly difficult circumstances:

  • More than 70,000 response, rescue, recovery, and law enforcement personnel working around the clock
  • Nearly 50,000 lives saved or rescued
  • More than $965 million provided to families and households
  • Nearly 250,000 people evacuated and safely housed in shelters
  • More than 58 million liters of water and 23 million MREs distributed
  • 87 National Disaster Medical System Teams engaged

Many DHS employees are unselfishly going about the business of helping those in need. These efforts are having a positive impact on lives, as each day the situation improves. But know that this is a long-term commitment—one that will stretch into the weeks and months ahead. Many of you have answered the call to volunteer in the affected areas, and I thank you for your service.

Our mission calls us to remain ever vigilant. Last Sunday, we remembered and honored the lives lost on September 11, 2001, and were reminded that the threat of terrorism is ever present. As we continue our response and recovery effort in the Gulf Coast region, we must also be prepared to deal with terrorist attacks or additional natural disasters. That is why the work of all DHS employees is so important. I am extremely proud of the work you are doing, and I thank you for your commitment and dedication at this critical time.

The Department of Homeland Security is a special place—a place where you can really make a difference in the lives of others. The sacrifices you have made thus far have been exemplary, but additional challenges await us. You will continue to be called upon to make a difference because you are the best at what you do.

Keep up the great work.

Darn good thing the Coast Guard is a major component of DHS, eh?Well, here I am trying it again.

To see if I can get this partial post thing enabled. The damn Blogger help is such a tease: Modifying this feature is left as an exercise for the reader.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post; read more of this musing.))

That’s BS! I want the f*cking answer, damnit.

Here’s the Blogger help post

How can I create expandable post summaries?

With this trick, you can choose to display an arbitrary amount of text from the beginning of each post, as a teaser for the whole thing. Then users who want to read the rest of the post can click a link to see the full text. This is handy if you have lots of long articles all on one page. Note that you’ll need to have post pages enabled in order to make this feature work.


There are three ingredients that go into this feature: conditional CSS, a “read more” link for each post, and a modification for the posts that use this feature. So let’s go through it step by step.

Conditional CSS

We’re going to use conditional tags to change how posts display on different pages. Add the following code to your style sheet:

And then the help page goes on to provide the code. You know, blah, blah, blah.

So I do it, before reading the notes at the end.

  • As with any template modifications, you should be sure to save a backup copy of your template before you start. Just copy and paste all your code to a text file on your hard drive, so you’ll have it there as a replacement in case anything goes wrong.
  • An alternative to creating post excerpts like this is to use the show/hide method on entire posts. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Advantages to this method: Customizable summaries, rather than titles only. Can be applied to some posts and not others (for instance, you might only want this for your longer posts).
  • Disadvantages: Requires changes to the posts themselves, rather than to the template only. However, the “read more” link is in the template, so it will appear regardless of whether a post has been truncated or not. (Modifying this feature is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Thanks, guys. That’s really helpful.


If you are reading this in RSS or some other news reader, pardon, please, my farting around.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post; read more of this musing.))

But I’m trying to get this full post/partial post thing worked out, and you’re going to just have to live with it.


Interesting. Knight Ridder is reporting that Brown may have been hung out to dry in order to protect Chertoff. Like something like that would happen; sure.

The federal official with the power to mobilize a massive federal response to Hurricane Katrina was Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, not the former FEMA chief who was relieved of his duties and resigned earlier this week, federal documents reviewed by Knight Ridder show.

Even before the storm struck the Gulf Coast, Chertoff could have ordered federal agencies into action without any request from state or local officials. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown had only limited authority to do so until about 36 hours after the storm hit, when Chertoff designated him as the “principal federal official” in charge of the storm.

As thousands of hurricane victims went without food, water and shelter in the days after Katrina’s early morning Aug. 29 landfall, critics assailed Brown for being responsible for delays that might have cost hundreds of lives.

But Chertoff – not Brown – was in charge of managing the national response to a catastrophic disaster, according to the National Response Plan, the federal government’s blueprint for how agencies will handle major natural disasters or terrorist incidents. An order issued by President Bush in 2003 also assigned that responsibility to the homeland security director.


More on this in the coming days, I’m sure.

Check out this article from Newsweek with input from two White House staffers; it’s a great timeline.

And then check out a post from Miasma in the House of Bite Me; you get commentary and sarcasm and questions.

You know I have a thing about psychological trauma and how to best help those who experience psychological trauma. Here’s the latest from the International Critical Incident Stress Management Foundation, along with two links to additional articles.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post; read more of this musing.))

Easy Does It
Jeffrey T. Mitchell, PhD, CTS
ICISF President Emeritus

It happens in almost every disaster and it is happening on the Gulf Coast now. Some folks just cannot resist the temptation to self-deploy. Truthfully, some independent responders have been helpful under certain circumstances in the past. Freelance responders, however, are more likely to inadvertently generate further problems for people already in the disaster zone.

Because self-deployed people do not always have the “big picture” in mind, they may end up in areas where they are not needed or where their services compete with organized response programs. Independent responders usually run out of supplies quickly and lack the benefit of an organized supply system. Frequently they request additional supplies from already strained stockpiles of disaster relief goods that organizations have shipped into the area to do their work. Needless to say, feelings of resentment on all sides can be easily stimulated under such circumstances.

Unfortunately, some people, who attempt to function in disaster areas on their own, find more trouble than they anticipated. They experience numerous difficulties finding food and water; they have no real base of operations and no dependable lodging. Often they lack communications and have no liaison with organizations such as the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the National Organization of Victim Assistance and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

In the past, a few people with fragile health self-deployed to disaster zones. They became sick and needed to be rescued. That, of course, further strained already overworked rescue and healthcare services. Others, who chose to work in areas where civil order was not yet restored, have become victims of robbery, violence and sexual assault. In summary, independent response adds further pressure to the rescue, health care, security and recovery systems that are attempting to restore order and reduce chaos.

Please, rather than self-deploying, we urge all of you to join with existing appropriate non-profit disaster response organizations like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, National Organization of Victim Assistance and the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation. If you are not able to go to a disaster zone, your donations to any of those organizations helps more than you can imagine. Joining up or donating funds or volunteer time enhances the possibility that your resources and skills will be used in the most effective manner. There are huge benefits when our response to a disaster is part of an organized, comprehensive, integrated, systematic and multi-component approach. Please, do not freelance in a disaster. Thank you!

* * * * * * *

The following articles by George S. Everly, Jr., PhD, F.A.P.M., are being distributed with the permission of Chevron Publishing.

Toward a Model of Psychological Triage: Who Will Most Need Assistance?

Early Psychological Intervention: A Word of Caution

Wondering how much impact Katrina had on CG infrastructure? Check it out. Green is good; yellow is bad; red is very bad.I seem to have missed this; here’s the Commandant’s email which forwarded the below from the aviators.

From: Collins, Thomas ADM
Sent: Wed Sep 14 08:27:43 2005
To: lst-CCS-Flags-SES-HQ; lst-CCS-Flags-Field
Subject: Katrina Rescue Efforts


Below you will find a field Cdr account of the incredible efforts of team Coast Guard in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Upon reading it, it was clear to me that you all would want to share in the comments, conclusions and observations of the Co’s involved … especially since Coast Guard men and women from all corners of our service game to the forefront to do their utmost in this emergency. I was on scene in LA and Miss last week … the extent of damage and the conditions under which our folks operated, especially during the first several days … effectively and safely … have been a thing to behold. The CO’s sum up the reasons for the success we realize during that 1st week at the end of their “letter” … I could not have expressed it any better!!

The work is not done. Our focus now is on environmental waterway and port issue. Bob Duncan and the 8th with help from across the CG will continue to shine!! We will be at it for a while. In addition, as you know, Thad Allen is at the forefront of the PFO efforts for S-1, contributing his considerable talents to the massive and complicated interagency efforts (body recovery, hsg issues, unwatering, etc ,etc).On another front Brian Peterman has been designated prospective PFO for the current east coast hurricane. Again, testimony to the credibility and value that our service brings to the nation and to our citizens.

Many Cg men and women suffered personal losses (homes, personal efforts, etc)… much efforts effort has been expended and will continue to be expended to take care of our own … Ken V. has put out word on some of these efforts … more info to follow.

Tks for everyone’s contributions to these efforts.

Warm Regards,
Tom C.

Check this out… This is from the Commanding Officer of Air Station New Orleans and the Commanding Officer of Aviation Training Center Mobile.

From: Jones, Bruce CAPT
Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2005 8:18 PM
Subject: Joint Message from CO ATC and CO CGAS NOLA – re: Hurricane Katrina Aviation Rescue Operations

Fellow Commanding Officers,

We (Captain Callahan and Captain Jones) have struggled to find words which adequately express our admiration, respect and appreciation for the herculean efforts of the many, many Coast Guard men and women, Active, Reserve, Auxiliary, and civilian you sent to us and who made the recent Coast Guard air rescue operations over Louisiana and Mississippi possible. Words cannot adequately express what they accomplished, but please pass this message from both of us to them, and thank you all for your leadership and support in the Coast Guard’s continuing Katrina response and recovery operations.

((Don’t be content with only a teaser of this post; read more of this musing.))


1. On 28 August 2005 aircraft from Airstas New Orleans and Houston and ATC Mobile descended on the devastated city of New Orleans and Mississippi coastal communities only to find the utter horror of great expanses under water up to rooftops or completely flattened by winds with burning gas mains and buildings and thousands of survivors clinging to rooftops adding to the unimaginable scene. In tropical storm conditions, every available helicopter immediately began hoisting survivors, reacting intuitively to the difficult task of triaging the neediest from among the throngs of victims, and delivering those recovered to the nearest dry land or overpass.

2. As the scope of the disaster became known, Airstas around the Coast Guard immediately began dispatching aircraft and aircrews to join the enormous rescue operation, staging out of both ATC Mobile and Airsta NOLA. Each and every Coast Guard Air Station, without exception, contributed personnel and/or aircraft to this extraordinary effort. In addition, logistics and support personnel from units including PSU 308, ISC St. Louis and New Orleans, MSU Houma, SFOS Atlantic City and Grand Haven, CEU Miami, Atlantic Strike Team, MLC (K), ESUs NOLA and Portsmouth, and many others descended onto the severely degraded Airsta NOLA facility to help with watchstanding, aircraft dispatch, loading of equipment, aircraft maintenance, facility repairs and any other task required, making this operation the epitome of the “Team Coast Guard” concept.

3. All Airsta NOLA berthing and most shop spaces were rendered uninhabitable by flooding after Katrina’s Cat 4 winds peeled back the hangar roof. Consequently, during the intense first four days of the operation until temporary tent cities and other shelters began to arrive all aircrew and support personnel staging at CGAS NOLA bunked head to toe on floors or on cots in the Airsta’s crowded admin building. For much of this time the admin building/operations center was without power, air conditioning, running water, and all but one working cellular phone making the concept of “adequate crew rest” an impossibility. ATC Mobile encountered challenges with their own hangar roof, losing all of their operations spaces, Opcen, and many maintenance shops, along with a loss of basewide power and phone communications.

4. Despite these hardships, the extraordinary Coast Guard men and women who gathered from all over the Coast Guard to join the fight worked ceaselessly and cheerfully, allowing around the clock SAR and maintenance operations to continue unabated and at an unprecedented level. The dogged determination, enthusiasm and eagerness to serve in any capacity exhibited by all members was awesome to behold. Many members of the embedded media commented frequently and with wonder at the superb quality, dedication and camaraderie of the entire crew.

5. In around the clock flight operations over a period of seven days, Coast Guard helicopters operating over New Orleans saved an astonishing 6,470 lives (4,731 by hoist) during 723 sorties and 1,507 flight hours. They also saved or assisted thousands of others by delivering tons of food and water to those who could not be moved immediately. These figures include all Coast Guard helicopter operations over the New Orleans metro area regardless of whether the flights originated at CGAS NOLA, CGAS Houston or ATC Mobile, and are almost certainly underreported as some sorties returned to their bases before overtaxed flight operations personnel could collect their data. The numbers from coastal Mississippi are still being scrubbed, and will increase the total considerably.

6. Challenging each pilot and flight mechanic to his or her limits, most hoists were completed in obstacle-strewn environments, often on night vision goggles, over power lines and downed trees with daytime temperatures near 100 degrees, often in power-limited aircraft. The conditions encountered by rescue swimmers included flooded houses and buildings, steep, slippery roofs, foul and contaminated water, and the need to hack through attics with axes or break out windows to free survivors. Add to this the urgency felt by all crew to continue rescuing a seemingly endless supply of increasingly desperate survivors as the hot days wore on. Aircrew returned from missions with dozens of rescues on a single sortie. One ATC HH-60J crew completed its day’s work with 150 lives saved. One CGAS Houston HH-65B crew saved 110. Another crew returned to base almost dejected, having saved “only” 15 lives. The stories of heroism and initiative these courageous professionals from all over the Coast Guard have to tell are remarkable.

7. That these extraordinary operational accomplishments, often achieved by mixed crews and aircraft from across the nation flying together for the first time, were accompanied by no significant personnel injury or major aircraft mishap is simply remarkable. The operation’s superb safety record is a testament to the leadership, professionalism and skills of each individual participant, and also to the Coast Guard’s aviation training, safety and standardization programs we have relied upon for years.

8. The Coast Guard’s superb aircraft mechanics and aircraft maintenance program were a key enabler of the operation’s success. Aircrew from every unit commented on the quality and speed of aircraft turnarounds and maintenance. Again, Coast Guard aviation’s outstanding training, safety and standardization programs in place at CGHQ, ATTC and AR≻, and at each individual Air Station enabled maintainers from across the country to instantly form effective teams at ATC Mobile and at CGAS NOLA and keep aircraft flying to save lives.

9. ATC Mobile served as the major staging area, force provider and maintenance depot for aircraft and crews cycling continuously to and from New Orleans, while simultaneously conducting major SAR and post-hurricane operations in its own AOR. At times ATC had no less than 37 USCG aircraft on its ramp and in its hangar. As helicopters operating out of New Orleans approached major maintenance cycles, both ATC and Airsta Houston accepted these aircraft and provided fresh mission capable aircraft and crews in return.

10. The support and logistics chain worked around the clock to return the hurricane-scarred CGAS NOLA and ATC facilities to life. Logisticians here and up the chain determined how best to meet our vital needs, and where they could not be met quickly using existing administrative procedures and requirements, steps were taken to procure needed equipment and supplies by whatever means possible. There are many “Radar O’Reilly’s” in the Coast Guard and God bless them. Not a single life was lost due to Coast Guard red tape.

11. The generous and unwavering support of our fixed-wing shipmates in ferrying vital equipment, supplies and many generous care packages, often paid for with personal funds donated by unit civilian and military personnel, was essential to the continued operation at CGAS NOLA and greatly appreciated. It is hard to describe the gratitude felt by those working for days without air conditioning or showers upon the arrival of crates of new underwear, deodorant, toothpaste and other amenities. Staggered rotation of all personnel out of theater for rest was an essential component of the success of this operation and we are grateful to the Falcon and Hercules communities for their continued support.

12. The dedicated volunteers of the Coast Guard Air Auxiliary, as always, stepped up to the plate and provided outstanding support to the operation. Their commitment allowed SAR aircraft to stay focused on SAR while still accomplishing necessary logistics missions.

13. To each and every Commanding Officer who sent personnel to serve in theater, your men and women were without exception superb and your leadership is apparent. Thank you. We ask that your returning personnel have the opportunity to meet with CISM counselors (opportunities have already been provided in theater).

14. That this complex operation could be so overwhelmingly successful despite a nearly complete loss of connectivity between Airsta NOLA and the outside world and chain of command for extended periods of time is a testament to the value of our Principles of Operations (reference Pub One). Particularly, the principles of Clear Objective; Unity of Effort; Effective Presence; On-scene Initiative; and Flexibility. If you turn highly trained and properly equipped Coasties loose on an objective, they will tackle it, and let you know when it is done.

15. The New Orleans and Mississippi air rescue operation is but one part of a much larger story of the Coast Guard’s response to Katrina. For example, 300 Coast Guard men and women from 20 different units quickly coalesced at Station New Orleans and rescued or assisted in the rescue of an estimated 22,000 people over ten days with surface assets, in horrendous conditions and with amazing displays of bravery and perseverance. Many of these shipmates lost everything in the flooding. Their stories remain to be told.

16. To those hundreds of devoted Coast Guard men and women who toiled to and beyond the point of exhaustion to keep helicopters flying, CGAS NOLA’s and ATC’s facilities functional and to save lives, you have more than upheld the traditions of your predecessors. You embodied our core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty. You have earned your place in history. Be proud of your extraordinary accomplishments.

17. After several days of cover from various other H65 units staging out of ATC Mobile, CGAS NOLA resumes its own B-0 and B-1 SAR response requirement today and continues to find its “new normalcy”. ATC Mobile will return to its business of Coast Guard aviation training next week. We will continue to rely on the generosity of the operational and logistics communities in providing personnel and services, so that our own personnel can take care of the many issues to be dealt with in the aftermath of family dislocations and hurricane damage. CGAS NOLA will be both home and workplace for almost all of its crew while they wait for the city to be reopened for occupancy, children’s schooling and spousal employment. The expressions of concern and offers for assistance from outside the command are overwhelming, and we are deeply grateful.

18. God bless our incomparable Coast Guard men and women. Semper Paratus!

19. Signed, CAPT B. C. JONES and CAPT D. R. CALLAHAN.