ISS4 2017

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Page 17 of 63

t he United States has encountered its toughest hurricane season in decades. The Coast Guard spent the end of the summer like a boxer up against the ropes, exhausted and trying to read a seasoned fighter. The Atlantic Area command moved its people and assets around like chess pieces, trying to predict the paths of the storms. The images from the hurricanes became familiar – orange helicopters huddled in hangars, C-130s being loaded with supplies and vehicles, punt teams wading through streets. Veterans of Hurricane Katrina found themselves recalling similar around-the-clock operations. One paper noted that Harvey dispensed more than 33 trillion gallons of water on U.S. soil, and for comparison, the Chesapeake Bay only holds 18 trillion. The National Weather Service said so much rain had fallen that they had to update the color charts on their graphics in order to effectively map it. The Coast Guard conducted more than 12,000 rescues in response to Hurricane Harvey in the first week alone. No one will forget the iconic image of a helicopter crew hoisting a wheelchair. Even with pre-staged crews, Coast Guardsmen worked long hours because, with much of Houston's infrastructure submerged, relief crews couldn't make it across the flooded city. Rescuers needed to be rescued in order to continue operations. Tens of thousands of homes were underwater, and still more rain came. Pilots found themselves navigating via highways, flying in winds and torrential, driving rain that pushed the safety limits of their aircraft. After days of pulling people from rooftops in the rain, and Coast Guard personnel prepare aircraft and make final checks at Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., Sept. 10, for Hurricane response operations. Photo by PA1 Patrick Kelley 16 RESERVIST � Issue 4 • 2017

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