In the history of the peacetime Coast Guard, one word will forever conjure up images and reflections of the men and women who responded to one of our nation's most horrific natural disasters .... Katrina. When that hurricane hit the Gulf of Mexico shoreline south of New Orleans on 29 August 2005, Coast Guard forces had already been preparing for anticipated heavy damage to facilities, flooding, and loss of easy communications between local, state, and federal agencies that made up the roster of first responders. The Eighth District command center had been relocated from New Orleans; boats, ships, and aircraft were moved away from the expected path of greatest danger-positioned to move in behind the storm center as quickly as possible and begin rescue operations even before gale force winds had dissipated. Units from other districts were dispatched toward the area, from as far away as Cape Cod; others placed on alert, ready to proceed as soon as needed. But, no one could have anticipated the magnitude of the carnage, nor the extent of human suffering and need for immediate assistance.
U.S. Coast Guard in Review
By Vice Admiral Howard B. Thorsen, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)