One of our neighbors had an open house yesterday so we went. They live across the harbor in a white building with a red roof, which I think of as the original Red Roof Inn. These neighbors have three boats, which I often see them maneuvering out in the harbor or on the lake. Their home accommodates 22 active people. During the summer, at sunset I can hear them play taps and in the distance see them lowering the flag. I am never up to see them raise it in the morning.
Our neighbors are STANT Kenosha of the Ninth District of the United States Coast Guard. The Ninth District, headquartered in Cleveland, is responsible for all operations on the Great Lakes. STANT stands for Station Aid to Navigation Team. This unit is responsible for numerous duties but their primary mission is Search and Rescue. If you saw the 2006 movie The Guardian, with Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, you learned a lot about the training and mission of the USCG and got to watch an exciting movie as well.
The Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, may be the least known of the Armed Forces. Among its many duties are the enforcement of maritime law, the protection of coastal waters and shores, protection of maritime environment and search and rescue. I didn’t know until yesterday that the USCG serves overseas, too. Currently, we were told by one of our hosts, USCG are involved in operations in the Middle East protecting naval vessels and also participating in training of Iraqi military.
The Kenosha unit has been here since 1879. On our visit we went inside the red roofed main building, saw a movie, learned a little of the history of this base, and perused a big scrapbook filled with clippings about the people that have been rescued in recent years by this unit. If you read the 9th District’s blog you can a read a letter from someone who was recently rescued by them. Heroic stuff – although these young men all seemed to take rescuing people all in a day’s work.
Michael and I were impressed with the people we talked to and were glad we walked over there to meet them. They are more than our neighbors. They protect our waters, shorelines, and beaches. Today when I was out walking the dog, there were strong winds off the lake and temperatures only about 50 degrees. I don’t know for sure but I would guess there were small craft warnings out, yet I saw a sailboat bobbing out on the lake. I hope whoever was in that boat doesn’t meet my neighbors until the next time they have an open house. If they don’t visit, at least they should acknowledge that the USCG is a good neighbor, helping protect our waters and sometimes boaters from themselves.
By the way, the little boat Michael is standing by is NOT one of the three boats the unit maintains, but it's cute isn't it? ( As is Michael!).