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U.S. COAST GUARD’S RESCUE EXPERTISE SHOWS


Approximately 415 Coast Guard aviation folks from 21 different air stations flew 14 fixed-wing aircraft and 39 helicopters to support Harvey rescue operations. The rotary wings included both the MH-65 and MH-60 helicopters with full search and rescue crews.


“The Coast Guard’s response to Hurricane Harvey is one of the largest our organization has seen in decades,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, commander of the Coast Guard 8th District.


Most of the missions were search and rescue, said Capt. David Cooper, the District 8 Chief of Incident Management. This included rescuing people who were in danger from the flooding, assisting those who required medical treatment, and delivering critical food, water and supplies.


Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick McGinnis, an aviation survival technician stationed at Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans,


U.S. Coast Guardsmen respond to Hurricane Harvey search and rescue requests in Houston, Texas. Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Johanna Strickland


LESSONS LEARNED 2 70


Structures designed to keep water out, will also keep water in. Numerous Houston and Beaumont neighborhoods feature levees built to keep out ocean surges during storms. But with Hurricane Harvey, record rainfall was the biggest factor. Without pumps, rainwater filled up neighborhoods inside the levees like bathtubs. (Lesson learned by Mark Thomas, air interdiction agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations.)


Sep/Oct 2017 3


Have a detailed plan before arriving at disaster sites. Where will your crews get fuel, sleep, and park their helicopters? It’s a fine line between being too close to the floodwaters and too far from victims. (Mark Thomas, air interdiction agent for U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations)


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