|FYI — May 2003|
|By Brad Dunn|
Northeast to Middle East
The pair of New Jersey-based cutters, the USCGC Adak from Sandy Hook and the USCGC Bainbridge Island from Highlands, were deployed with a total of about 35 officers and crew toward an undisclosed location in the region.
In the Northeast the 110-foot, high-speed patrol boats were conducting homeland security operations; in the Middle East, they were assigned to protect naval ships from suicide bombers, like the ones that attacked the USS Cole in 2001.
"The ship is in the best shape it's been in since I've been in command, and the crew looks good," said Lt. Sean MacKenzie, skipper of the Adak, according to the Associated Press.
Though MacKenzie had never seen combat, the ten-year Coast Guard veteran did patrol New York Harbor immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To prepare for the contingency of war, MacKenzie and his crew conducted intense drills for three months to sharpen their interdiction and port security operations.
"In a way, it's exciting," said Matthew James, operations petty officer. "This is different, going into a potentially hostile area."
In a public statement, Coast Guard officials said the aim of the deployment is to protect high-value targets, such as Navy ships, oil tankers, and military command vessels.
MacKenzie said the months of drills and preparations have boosted the crew's attitude toward their mission.
"You wind up increasing your confidence level quite a bit about your ability to protect yourself and the assets you're in charge of," he said. "We're definitely ready to go."
This article originally appeared in the April 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.