We Turn Private Boat Owners into Private Boat Captains
Vincent Pica Chief of Staff, First District, Southern Region (D1SR) United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Serving on Land and Sea – The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
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The past few weeks have seen classic examples how “America’s Volunteer Life Savers”, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, have served their Nation, served their neighbors and have done it on their own terms.
35-years and Counting What were you doing 35-years ago – in 1972?President Richard Nixon was re-elected president by then the most massive Electoral College majority in history – 520 Electoral votes vs McGovern’s 17 (Ronald Reagan’s victory over Mondale in 1984 stands as the all-time record – 525 v 13!)The US Olympic hockey team was defeating the vaunted Soviet hockey team at the Lake Placid Olympics – and after a visit to South Viet Nam, U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger suggested that "peace is at hand."
Also, in that year, despite long service already in hand to their country, Van Field and George & Joy Sandberg – all of Center Moriches – were joining the US Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Van Field served the US Coast Guard in WW-II (’42-’46) and again during the “50’s” (’51-’52).But he couldn’t stay away from US Coast Guard Forces and re-upped with the USCGAux back in 1972.He has served many role and positions in the USCGAux over these many years, including commanding the East Moriches flotilla as well as all USCGAux forces east of William Floyd Parkway - twice.He is currently the chief communications officer for Division 18, which comprises the entire area “Out East”…
The Sandberg’s show a similar saga of service.George, a Captain in and Instructor at the United States Merchant Marine Academy (see SSP, “USMMA and USCGAux Training Day”, 2/7/07), served in the US Navy and US Coast Guard Reserves nearly continuously from 1966 to 1982.Perhaps his most famous exploit was, while captaining the M/V Julius Hammer en route to a delivery in the Soviet Union, Captain Sandberg responded to a May-Day on December 30, 1987.In 40 mph winds and 25’ seas, Captain Sandberg rescued Mark Tilly from the deck of a foundering 30’ sailboat 200 southwest of Bermuda.
Joy perhaps showed the staunchest support.She joined the USCGAux 4 days after giving birth to twin daughters!
Of More Recent Vintage On this past July 5th, while returning home from a night patrol coxswain’d by this author, Crewman Ed Tordahl, a resident of Mastic and who served in the US Navy as a submariner (’79-’82), stopped at the “7-11” in Center Moriches for some fast-food pick-me-up around 10pm.As he was leaving the “7-11”, he saw smoke coming from a red economy-sized sedan with a young, (now) frantic woman inside.The car’s engine was afire and this had apparently disabled the electric windows and door locks.Still in USCGAux uniform, Ed Tordahl directed the young lady to lean away from the window, whereupon he promptly put his size-10 USCGAux work boot through the driver’s side window and hauled out the young lady.He further directed the staring throng to call “9-1-1”.A moment later, the father of the young lady roared into the parking lot who, when he heard what had happened, started pumping Ed Tordahl’s hand in thanks.Ed, meanwhile, was trying to keep the crowd away from the car since the engine fire kept flaring up, despite the attempts by members of the crowd to put out the engine fire with small, handheld fire extinguishers.Once Ed Tordahl saw the rotating-red-lights-and-sirens pull in, he quietly got back in his car and drove home.The unsung hero…
BTW, if you are interested in being part of USCG Forces, email me at JoinUSCGAux@aol.comor go direct to the D1SR Human Resources department, who are in charge of new members matters, at DSO-HR and we will help you “get in this thing…”
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