NOAA Teacher at Sea
Onboard U.S. Coast Guard Vessel Healy
July 1 – 30, 2008
Mission: Bering Sea Ecosystem Survey
Geographic Region: Bering Sea, Alaska
Date: July 14, 2008
Prior to sailing on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter HEALY I had no idea what it took to run such a huge floating, moving, science sampling community. Everyone that works aboard appears to be constantly busy not only with their formally assigned duties, but also with collateral duties, so that each one of the 15 separate divisions is constantly hopping. This was the case yesterday for the deck division, the largest aboard the HEALY with 17 crew members.
The ship was working with scientists to retrieve an optical array, thus the need for small boats and the deck crew. It was through the guidance of Chief Boatswain’s Mate Kidd that not only were two boats launched with appropriate crew, but that they had the equipment necessary to try and accomplish their task.
Chief Kidd is a career military man who started as a combat photo journalist. It was while I was listening to his account of the past that I learned even more about the history of the Coast Guard and how technology has really changed their world. Chief Kidd used to be a quartermaster, a traditional navigator aboard a sailing vessel. For twelve years he worked on the bridge of ships using tools such as a compass and sextant to plot and record courses. Then came the GPS. Thus the Chief’s “Legacy skills” became obsolete. Now he runs the deck division, responsible for: Having his crew stand bridge watches. Providing bridge lookouts. All small boat operations. Crane operations (not related to science). Armed bear watch when working in the ice. Rescue swimmer when scientists are on the ice. Line tending/deck work…the list is endless.
Working for Chief Kidd is enlisted crew Chelsey Rheyann Kaleoalohalanimalamalama Fernandez. Chelsey works on the Bridge for four hours a day, her primary duty is to record all ship operations while the HEALY is underway. The rest of her time is spent in, of course, collateral duties: maintaining and checking all float coats, checking the weapons locker, checking immersion suits, regular PMS (Preventative Maintenance Systems) checks of small boats and again the list is endless.
Chelsey is new to the U.S. Coast Guard and will have her three year anniversary this winter when she hopes to get accepted into “A School,” to start her training to become a Health Services Technician/Corpsman. There are many opportunities for enlisted personnel within the Coast Guard, and this one will be Chelsey’s path.
Quote of the Day: The survival of the human species is inescapably linked with the survival of all other forms of life. Michael Frome
**FOR MY STUDENTS: **How many different careers do you think there are within the U.S. Coast Guard?