Skip to comments.US coast guard in Cuba exercise
Posted on 03/08/2007 11:46:03 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
The US coast guard is staging a huge exercise in Florida in preparation for a possible mass exodus from Cuba in the event of the death of Fidel Castro.
More than 300 agents and 85 law enforcement agencies are taking part in the two-day Operation Vigilant Sentry.
Actors are playing imaginary Cuban migrants in mock interceptions.
The operation has taken on a renewed urgency since President Castro fell ill and handed temporary power to his brother Raul last July.
President Castro recently spoke in a live broadcast with his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, but has not been seen in public since last year.
Coast Guard Rear Adm David Kunkel said: "It's a mass migration plan in general. It doesn't have to be from Cuba.
"However we do recognise that Cuba is certainly an area where we must be prepared."
In the early 1980s, tens of thousands of people left Cuba after receiving permission from the government.
This seems to be sort of big, people.
Yahoo news REALLY glossed over that embarrassing event. It's very interesting that this event is dealt with so lightly and protective of the asshole we had as President at the time and permitted Castro to export thousands of Cuba's criminals, insane, spies and adversaries....to hit the welfare roles and prisons of America.
It was call the Mariel Boat lift - and it was negotiated and implemented during ---- you guessed it, President Jimmuh Carter's rape of the Republic.
Castro KNEW a dumb ass sucker when he met one, and he took little Jimmuh to the cleaners....
Oh, and it wasn't 10's of thousands -- it was approx. 125,000 who got in before the outrage against the Carter foolishness brought it to an end.
Most of those who escaped became valued citizens -- but the mismanagement characteristic of the Carter administration allowed entry to thousands of low life bastards who created havoc on our streets, holding centers and prisons...
You're right about the nature of the folks. Most of those we picked up were voting for freedom with their feet. It was a very tiring but fulfilling operation. We carried boxes of fruit, Spanish Bibles and candy (we bought the candy). It was amazing how many (older people in particular) cried over the Bibles, how many kissed us and blessed us.
Then we would come up on one of the boats loaded down with people released from prison specifically by Castro to take part in the boat lift. These folks were the criminals, not the political prisoners. We would frisk them as we brought them on board and would net an amazing pile of weapons in no time. We kept a close and well armed eye on those groups.
Then there were the times we came upon survivors in the water from where an overloaded boat had capsized; floating in with the dead. One time we came on a boat that had had a fire. Three of them died before we made it back to port; we did what we could for them.
I don't know if I would want to do it again, but I wouldn't have missed it the first time for anything. We all had the chance to rotate out after thirty days; our crew refused to quit until it was over.
My inlaws were alive and living on the West coast of Florida during the 70's/80's....and had the highest regards for their Cuban neighbors who truly appreciated becoming Americans...
We frequently went to the Miami area while my father-in-law was having his boat built at the Bertram Boat works. We would visit Little Havana for the restaurants and bars -- which at that time were the VERY best in the state..
I have no idea of what has become of that area or those folks over the years.
During that period, many of the most skilled craftsmen at the Bertram boat works were Cuban... Bertram was at that time, one of the best premier builders in the country and VERY expensive -- so they could afford the best..
Once we culled out most of the garbage that Castro sent - we got the best end of that deal - in spite of the mess Carter made of the transfer.
I'm also familiar with Bertrams and totally agree.
Somebody please tell me why we are ganging up on the Cubans to stop them from entering the country when we are doing nothing to stop the Mexicans.
Can we post the Coast Guard on the Rio Grand River?
Maybe because that's not really true?
Are the 110' Island class boats back in operation?
There are 40. The most active is from Florida.
A while back, they had real bad hull problems, and grounded the lot of them. I doubt they'd have overcome that by now.
Hey CWO, which PB were you with?
It looks like it's the 123's (a modified 110' Island class boat) are what are grounded, not the 110's. My bad.
At the time I was actually station in Elizabeth City, NC. At that time the Coast Guard only had a small handful of their own EMT's; the school was still very new and had a 50% washout rate.
They pulled all of us they could and put us on the cutters and patrol boats. Talk about a baptism of fire.
As for the 110 cutters...they were pieces of dung when they were built and only intended to be a ten year stop-gap replacement. They're even worse now.
I believe that the program is off the rails due to hull deformation problems - leading to shaft alignment troubles and concerns about stability and seaworthiness. The CG is taking a lot of heat over it.
By any chance, have you ever been to the CG station in Emerald Isle, NC?
Never had the pleasure. It wasn't a regular manned station at the time. I did spend quite a bit of time out of the Cape and loved every day of it. We often got down to Harkers Island for relaxation; one of the Harkers was stationed with me.
The Coast Guard was looking for a temporary replacement for their 82' and 95' patrol boats. This ten year period would give them time to design a suitable replacement for that fleet.
To simplify things the CG decided to go with an existing design since it was a temporary measure. They ended up buying an existing Vosper Thornycroft design that was very successful in the Indian Ocean.
The nature of the design unfortunately didn't have the range the CG needed so that was corrected by CG naval engineering adding additional fuel capacity to the design. Unfortunately (a term that suits the class very well), the hull itself wasn't designed to carry the additional weight. The very first 110 accepted had developed hull cracks during it's short transit from LA to FL in fair weather. This led to additional redesign work being needed to keep them from breaking apart in heavy weather. You walk across the deck of a 110 and you'll notice how spongy the deck feels.
The design also suffered from other problems. While it may have been great in the Singapore climate, there were problems in S.E. Alaska. Condensation inside the boats was terrible; it rained inside as much as it rained outside. Of course the design had a sufficiency of heads and not much storage (heads were used for storage) and a fully redundant flying bridge to compliment the main bridge (nice but unnecessary).
The engines also had climate related problems. When fired up in a cool wet climate the engines smoke horrendously. The problem was so bad the city of Ketchikan kicked the local 110 out of the berth the PB's had been using for years; they got tired of sending the fire department out every time the engines were fired up.
The 110's also don't have a clutch speed...no neutral. You can have a running engine in forward or reverse, but no idle...and even the lowest setting in forward or reverse is too high. That makes maneuvering interesting, particularly in some of the tight marinas where those boats are based.
The class was never intended to serve more then 10 years...that was a long time ago. The latest problems relates to the CG modifying the design yet again to provide a fast launch/recovery platform on the stern for a RHIB. In their brilliance, CG naval engineering, took a too weak, light, over-aged/stressed hull and made it weaker (but what do I know, I'm just a boat driver).
I was a USCG EMT. I was stationed on a buoy tender out of boston most of my time in, but I started out with a half year up at the small boat station in Gloucester.
I was in from 85-89, and was surprised to nevr get pulled out to go to D7.
I had friends on the 110's as they wer coming in. They agreed, they were junk, but better than the very old 82's and 95's they were replacing. Yeah, 10 year life is what i remember hearing.
I started out on a buoy tender, one of the old 180's. You know what life is like on them...boring, tedious and boring...did I mention boring? Unfortunately I was the #1 rescue swimmer and sure enough we went on a SAR run towards the end of my tour. I had to go over the side and pull three people in. Right away I forgot the tedium and was hooked.
I've time on 82', 95's and 110's. Of them all I think the 82' was by far the best. In the long run I think it would have been cheaper to keep them on...and safer for the crews.
Which class (EMT) did you go through?
That's too bad as Emerald Isle is a wonderful little town. Great balance between touristy and secluded.
We used to vacation right down the street from there every summer (the condos we stayed at were on Coast Guard Rd.) and on several occasions my father would bring my brother and I to the CG station. You didn't even need to schedule anything. We would just show up and the Coasties there would give us a full tour of the facilities and let us play around on the computers. Those visits gave me an early respect for the people in the Guard.
Isn't that the truth? It's just not like that anymore; I can remember going there when you had to either drive through Atlantic Beach, or take the ferry over.
You wouldn't believe it now; HUGE bridge, tons of stuff, Wings, etc.
Our quiet little end of the island is gone; I use to love walking out the west end at low tide, picking up shells; you could practically walk over to Bird Island.
The local (Indian) residents can be a little standoffish...unless you're in the CG. If you're a Coastie you're an honorary member of the tribe.
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