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Coast Guard Auxiliary Fills Gaps in U.S. Security

Cathy Duchamp
12/31/2001

For more than three months, the United States has been engaged in a war against terrorism. But unlike World War Two, everyday citizens have been asked to do very little on the homefront to support the war. With one exception. On waterways across the country, members of the all-volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary are plugging gaps in national security. KUOWís Cathy Duchamp reports.

ON A CRISP DECEMBER MORNING ON THE WATER NEAR SEATTLEíS BELL HARBOR MARINA THE COAST GUARD AUXILIARY IS ON PATROL:

Iím Bill Hauger and thatís John You-ber. Weíre patrolling Eliot Bay and the Duamish waterway today.

THE TWO MEN ARE ON HAUGERíS 31-FOOT POWER BOAT, WHICH DISPLAYS THE OFFICIAL FLAG AND EMBLEM OF THE COAST GUARD AUXILIARY--- AN ORGANIZATION BEST KNOWN FOR BOATING SAFETY COURSES, AND COURTESY CHECKS OF RECREATION BOATS. SINCE SEPTEMBER 11TH, AUXILIARY MEMBERS LIKE HAUGER, HAVE TAKEN ON THE ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF SECURITY PATROLS.

Weíre going very close to the waterfront and looking for anything thatís out of the ordinary [whatís anything] you never know until you see it.

A LAWYER WHEN HEíS NOT ON THE WATER, 62 YEAR OLD HAUGER AND OTHER VOLUNTEERS HELP THE COAST GUARD FILL THE GAP IN HOMELAND DEFENSE. EVEN BEFORE SEPTEMBER ELEVENTH, THE COAST GUARD WAS UNDERSTAFFED. NOW IT HAS NEW ANTI-TERRORISM DUTIES--- SEARCHING SHIPS THAT CALL ON THE PORT OF SEATTLE, AND ENFORCING NEW SAFETY ZONES AROUND NAVY FACILITIES. AND NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR ROUTINE PATROLS. COAST GUARD LIEUTENANT COMMANDER KELLY BOODELL DIRECTS AUXILIARY PROGRAMS ACROSS FIVE NORTHWEST STATES. BOODELL SAYS THE VOLUNTEERS ARE A FORCE MULTIPLIER FOR THE COAST GUARD:

While it might not seem very exotic to be out here, when you see people doing things that might seem unusual, photographing things particularly when you have bigger points of interest like a cruise liner come in you just want to be very careful and compare it to what your expectations should be

FOR SECURITY REASONS, BOODELL WONíT GIVE SPECIFICS ON ANY SECURITY THREATS HERE IN PUGET SOUND. NATIONWIDE AUXILIARISTS HAVE LOGGED MORE THAN 135-THOUSAND HOURS OF HOMELAND SECURITY DUTY SINCE SEPTEMBER. 53 YEAR OLD JOHN YOU-BER WHO WORKS AT A HYDRAULICS COMPANY IN BALLARD, SPENT 7 DAYS STRAIGHT ON PATROL RIGHT AFTER THE TERROR ATTACKS.

I feel Iím doing my part. Iíve got two terms in Vietnam. And I never ever thought Iíd be trying to defend my own home front here. It kinda hurts but while weíre out here, nothings gonna happen.

VOLUNTEERS CAN DO EVERYTHING COAST GUARD ENLISTED PERSONNEL DO, EXCEPT LAW ENFORCEMENT. HEADING DOWN THE DUWAMISH WATERWAY, YOU-BER SPOTS SOMETHING SUSPICIOUS NEXT TO A WOODEN PIER.

Itís got one line around it

AN EMPTY POWER BOAT, WITHOUT AN ENGINE:

Actually its on a chain. Ö tied to the boom right around the boom.

THE BOATíS LICENSE TABS HAVE EXPIRED. WITH NO OWNER IN SITE, YOU-BER AND HAUGER CALL IT IN TO THE COAST GUARD FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION. NOTHING COMES OF IT. THE TWO MEN WILL PATROL THE WATERS OF ELIOT BAY AND THE DUWAMISH FOR MOST OF THE DAY. TO A NON-MARINER, IT MAY SEEM BORING OR TEDIOUS. BUT NOT FOR BILL HAUGER:

I love the water. Ha. I just love being outside, and if Iím outside, on the water, in my boat, I am very happy.

JUST HOW LONG VOLUNTEERS WILL REMAIN ON SECURITY DUTY IS NOT CLEAR. BILL HAUGER AND JOHN YOU-BER SAY THEYíLL STAY ON PATROL FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES. IíM CATHY DUCHAMP. KUOW 94.9 PUBLIC RADIO.

Related Link:
  • US Coast Guard Auxiliary: District 13
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