Coast Guard -Stretched to the Limit, Still Working

By Faye Higbee

The US Coast Guard rescued 11,000 lives after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston, Texas and the surrounding region. And though their work there has not been finished, some of their ships and assets were redirected to Florida in anticipation of Irma’s landfall. But it begs the question…what are the Coast Guard’s limits?

The Coast Guard has been seriously underfunded in recent years, as have the rest of the United States Military. The Coast Guard is tasked with several of the Caribbean Islands as well as the U.S..

“It stretched us just to be able to respond to Harvey, and now we’re shifting resources right now to be able to respond to Irma.” Admiral Charles Michel

The Coast Guard has a number of aircraft in “storm-proof” hangars on Puerto Rico, and a small contingent of personnel on St Croix and St Thomas.


Devastation was widespread on St Thomas with serious flooding in Puerto Rico. The hurricane destroyed the only hospital on St. Thomas, but in true intrepid fashion, Dr. Chase, an orthopedic surgeons set up a fee clinic at the Ritz-Carlton hotel for an urgent medical care.

The storm passed on the edge of St Croix. Approximately 100,000 US citizens are on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. The Coast Guard was on it with their aircraft.

The US Coast Guard will continue the mission, regardless of the problems. Aircraft that fly too long can lose their “maintenance” affording to the article in Both personnel and equipment need ‘breaks before complete breakdown.’  But they know the stakes, and they will complete their mission.

“You’ve got to be there big, and you’ve got to be there fast. That’s what our plan is going to be for Puerto Rico, and that’s what our plan is going to be for Florida as well…We’re going to use these incidents to measure where capacity is and where gaps are. I’m confident that we’re going to be able to respond to these as best that we can.”  Admiral Charles Michel