Short Little Sea Story for you

Discussion in 'Coast Guard Academy - USCGA' started by LineInTheSand, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    One of the wonderful bonuses of being in a sea service is telling sea stories (sea services with sea stories are generally Coast Guard and Navy, the Marine Corps, while being a sea service, doesn't have great sea stories.)

    Nice thing about sea stories is you can tell them your entire life, and people aren't there to correct you on the size of the seas or the amount of roll you experience.

    Because I have about 11 more days as a Coast Guard officer (I'm about 35 days into my terminal leave), I will tell you one of my sea stories...so sit down by the fire...and here we go....


    I was on a 210' patrolling the Florida Straits in the summer, possibly 2007 or 2008. Because our B-Class 210' was in the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Md. our entire crew was manning another A-Class 210' While we could be pulled to do anything from search and rescue to drug interdiction, the bulk of our duties each summer centered on alien migrant interdiction operations (AMIO). We were about a month into the patrol, having already interdicted hundreds of Cuban migrants, sending nearly all of them back to their homeland.

    We were informed one day that we would be receiving a number of migrants from a Coast Guard 110'. We already had some Cuban migrants under the tent that had been set up on our flight deck. We would receive about 200 migrants.

    As the 110' approached us, our alien migrant processing team got into place. I was in charge of the team that would account for every migrant and their belongings. If they came on the ship with personal items, they would leave with those same items.

    After the migrants settled on the flight deck, our representative from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began to interview them. She was checking to see if any of them had legit claims to enter the U.S. They also received any medical treatment they might need, both from our ship's corpsman, and from a doc from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS).

    Once USCIS has met with the migrants recommendations go to the Dept. of Homeland Security, and the repatriation is coordinated through the State Dept. with the Cuban government. Sometimes this process takes a week.

    This time it took longer. As repatriation days were cancelled one by one as the weather off of Cuba got worse, the migrants got restless. To make things worse, included in the group was a migrant we had seen a year earlier who had been a "trouble maker" as well as a woman who had a talent for getting her fellow migrants worked up.

    One morning, after 2-3 weeks with the migrants on the flight deck, there was a disturbance on the flight deck. The cutter's cooks prepare rice and beans for the migrants. On this morning the beans were not completely cooked. The migrants threw all of their food and plates onto a pile. They began to chant, first "Cuba" (sounds like Coo-BAH) and then "Miami" (sounds like Mee -AH-Me). They told the translators that they wanted Cuban TV and reporters by noon or they were going to riot.

    The ship was informed of the possibility of a riot by 200 Cuban migrants.

    I found my way to the fantail of the 210' and was talking to a electronics chief who was on the security detail when we saw a group of women and children come running down the latter from the flight deck to the fantail. They were crying, screaming, very scared. We looked up and heard the large tent breaking as it swayed back and forth. The migrants were rioting, taking to rip down the support beams of the tent to use as weapons.

    In a very very short time, the cutter crew was in positions with a number of tools to discourage the migrants. Many of the migrants crawled to the outside of the tents, showing they were no threat. About 20-30 remained in the center with various metal supports that had broken off the tent, ready to go. The CO and XO defused the situation by talking them "down". The migrants knew they wouldn't win. Luck us, they were frustrated they had been on the flight deck of a ship for 3 weeks.

    Within a week we transfered the migrants to another Coast Guard cutter to be repatriated. I'll never forget the sounds and sights of that day. Gets your heart going a little when you think 200-250 migrants are rioting on a cutter manned by 76 Coat Guardsmen.

    There you go....my short little sea story for you...
     
  2. fairwinds

    fairwinds Member

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    A very interesting (and yes, scary) story, LITS. Shows how a situation that to some may some very tame can turn into something very dangerous very quickly! Semper Paratus!
     
  3. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    Is the moral of the story "an army runs on its' stomach?" Under prepared beans were their last straw? How dare we? On the other hand having lived in Miami and have actually lived for a time with Cuban friends,,,,,their food is awesome! I wonder if they knew how close they were to Little Havana which has wonderful Cuban food ( or at least used to in the 80's) many sold by street vendors. Makes my mouth water thinking about it. And as a non-military soul, the word "repatriate" sounds nice but,,,,,and "tools to discourage the migrants" , nicely put. You have a way with words. But undercooked beans must be like a sh$t sandwich. :shake:

    Line in the sand, enjoy your last week and most of all, thank you for your service! My DS may be one of the future Coasties coming out of KP. I hope you continue to hang around here.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  4. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    They also wanted TV....but yes, I would say giving them cooked food helps. We were accused of putting salt in their drinking water, which was never true. They did request sugar added to their water. Maybe less sugar tastes saltier? I will never know.
     

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