The world we left when we got underway in early March to test newly installed systems was not the world we returned to 13 days later. When the USCGC Kimball (WMSL-756) left Honolulu, the coronavirus outbreak was largely confined to China, and there was still optimism it could be contained. While underway, daily situation reports from across the Pacific Area increasingly focused on the Coast Guard’s response to the M/V Grand Princess cruise ship, which had COVID-19 cases, heading for San Francisco. We could sense the outbreak spreading to the United States, but we were isolated from it and our ability to get information at sea was limited. When we returned to our homeport, we found store shelves empty, we heard the term “social distancing“ for the first time, and the virus dominated all aspects of daily life. We had to adapt—quickly.
Balancing Training, Readiness, and Coronavirus
A Coast Guard Cutter Prepares for deployment during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
By Captain Holly Harrison, U.S. Coast Guard