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Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard,…
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Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes (udgave 2009)

af David Helvarg

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
472436,192 (3.75)5
Since its founding more than two hundred years ago, the United States Coast Guard has rescued over a million people. On any given day, "Coasties" respond to 125 distress calls and save over a dozen lives. Yet despite having more than 50,000 active-duty and reserve members on every ocean and on our nation's coasts, great lakes, and rivers, most of us know very little about this often neglected but crucial branch of the military.In Rescue Warriors, award-winning journalist David Helvarg brings us into the daily lives of Coasties, filled with a salty maritime mix of altruism and adrenaline, as well as dozens of death-defying rescues at sea and on hurricane-ravaged shores.Helvarg spent two years with the men and women of the Coast Guard, from the halls of their academy in New London, Connecticut, to the frigid, storm-tossed waters of Alaska's Bering Sea, to the northern Persian Gulf, where they currently guard Iraqi oil terminals. The result is a masterpiece of adventure reporting - the definitive book on America's "forgotten heroes."  … (mere)
Medlem:Mirkwood
Titel:Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes
Forfattere:David Helvarg
Info:Thomas Dunne Books (2009), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America's Forgotten Heroes af David Helvarg

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A refreshing look at some unsung heroes.
( )
  Mirkwood | May 10, 2013 |
I've long been an admirer of the Search and Rescue work of the US Coast Guard, but I have to admit I knew very little about this smallest branch of our US military. David Helvarg's book [Rescue Warriors] has changed that. This is not a dry academic lesson about Coast Guard history. Helvarg takes us out on ships and up on helicopters with their crews, into Coast Guard boot camp and the Coast Guard Academy to witness their training.

9/11 changed the world, and it changed the Coast Guard, too. Helvarg explains the role of the USCG on that fateful day and in its aftermath, as it was moved to the newly-formed Dept. of Homeland Security and assumed a new array of security assignments.

My least favorite chapter was "Gunners." This was partly due to the sensation of drowning in an alphabet soup of acronyms (for various squads, task forces, and the like). I may have also felt discomfort with some of the new roles the Coast Guard has assumed in the concurrent wars on drugs and terror. I love the image of the Coast Guard coming to the rescue of those in distress on the ocean or in disasters like Katrina; stories of battles with drug runners and terrorists lack the same appeal. It's a view that seems to be shared by many of the "Coasties," who express concern that Search and Rescue (SAR) training may be suffering as the Coast Guard assumes more and more homeland secuity duties.

But the book contains plenty of images of the wonderful SAR work for which the Coast Guard s famous. It opens with the Coast Guard's role as "New Orleans Saints," when the USCG appeared to be the only government agency that knew what it was doing early on, rescuing 33,000 people before FEMA seemed to know there was an emergency. Along the way, we meet the "surfmen" who bring out the rescue boats; and the Coast Guard aviators, including the "aviation survival technicians" (rescue swimmers) who drop from helicopters to save those in dire distress.

Helvarg is unabashedly pro-Coast Guard in that he makes a clear case for the importance and value of the Coast Guard, and expresses clear concern at the lack of funding and equipment with which it is forced to work. Example: helicopters experienceing 1 in-flight engine power loss in 100,000 flying hours are deemed unsafe and unreliable by the FAA; the Coast Guard rate of such mishaps is 329 per 100,000, due to the age of the equipment. "Still, no one suggested the Coast Guard reduce its search and rescue missions to protect its own people," Helvarg notes. Indeed, more and more demands have been placed upon the Coast Guard as our country faces new security threats, without any corresponding increase in funding.

But he does not shy away from dealing with situations where the USCG has made mistakes, either. He spends an entire chapter on the Deepwater fiasco, which resulted in (among other things) eight ships being built which had to be decomissioned because they literally fell apart when they went to sea. He does put these errors into a context which the reader can understand.

Helvarg, a conservationist, does occasionally let his views be known on other issues of relevance to the Coast Guard (global warming being a primary one, as melting ice caps are creating more open water over which the Coast Guard must assume responsibility). I've found his comments not so strident as to overshadow the overall narrative.

This book left me with a tremendous appreciation for the varied and demanding roles which the US Coast Guard fills, and the challenges which this under-appreciated branch of our military faces as it continues to try to do more and more with inadequate resources. ( )
5 stem tymfos | Dec 3, 2009 |
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Since its founding more than two hundred years ago, the United States Coast Guard has rescued over a million people. On any given day, "Coasties" respond to 125 distress calls and save over a dozen lives. Yet despite having more than 50,000 active-duty and reserve members on every ocean and on our nation's coasts, great lakes, and rivers, most of us know very little about this often neglected but crucial branch of the military.In Rescue Warriors, award-winning journalist David Helvarg brings us into the daily lives of Coasties, filled with a salty maritime mix of altruism and adrenaline, as well as dozens of death-defying rescues at sea and on hurricane-ravaged shores.Helvarg spent two years with the men and women of the Coast Guard, from the halls of their academy in New London, Connecticut, to the frigid, storm-tossed waters of Alaska's Bering Sea, to the northern Persian Gulf, where they currently guard Iraqi oil terminals. The result is a masterpiece of adventure reporting - the definitive book on America's "forgotten heroes."  

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