Getting Poor Americans into Clean Clothes?

You know, I think the main purpose of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps is to get poor Americans into clean, pressed, unpatched clothes, so rich Americans can stand to look at them.
–Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

US Navy Skiers at Adak, Alaska in WWII

We Save Iran’s Bacon, Again (Thanks Coast Guard!)

What the heck is going on? Is Iran in full melt-down mode when it comes to sea-worthiness? Just a couple of days ago, we were taking their fat out of the fire when it came to pirates.

An Iranian mariner greets a US Coast Guardsmen from the cutter Monomoy

And today, they almost burned their roast. (Can you tell I have not eaten dinner? Blogging while hungry, it’s a dangerous game I am playing! Read this post at your own peril.) Good thing our Coast Guard came to their rescue.

The United States Coast Guard cutter Monomoy “picked up six Iranian mariners after their vessel broke down” in the Persian Gulf Tuesday, the BBC reported.

At about 3 a.m. local time, the Coast Guard vessel “was hailed by flares and flashlights from the Iranian cargo dhow, Ya-Hussayn,” the U.S. Navy Central Command/Fifth Fleet public affairs report said. The Iranian mariners asked for assistance from the Monomoy because the cargo dhow’s engine room was flooding.

“Monomoy immediately launched their small boat and approached the Ya-Hussayn,” the Pentagon report said. “Two persons were rescued from the vessel, and four from a life raft tied off to the dhow’s stern.”

As for the Coast Guardians, I need to share this great video from Coastie, a reader and Coast Guard vet.

About the video, he says: it is an excellent example of the duties and shore service of a PATFORSWA (Patrol Forces South West Asia) cutter.  We were the second crew to serve in the NAG (Northern Arabian Gulf) on the Wrangell but this article from a Coast Guard historian gives a much better idea about what the first crew did. And it was far more exciting than my tour. And exciting is a bad thing, as I am sure you know.

First crew: the 110-foot Cutter Adak on patrol in the Northern Arabian Gulf

Interestingly, my shipmates tell me the PATFORSWA cutters are not yet gone, they continue to patrol the oil terminals and conduct MIO (Maritime Interdiction Operations). No one will tell me if we are transferring them to the Iraqis as we did in Vietnam. . . maybe they do not know or OPSEC prohibits it. Or they just don’t like me enough to tell me.

As we pull our forces out of Iraq, the role the Coast Guard played in this conflict is, as usual, very low-key. Who needs a coastal patrol force in a desert country?  In a country with one river-way, the Khawr Abd Allah, the Coast Guard’s role could easily be overlooked.  However, the largest part of the oil leaving Iraq does so through two oil terminals in the Northern Arabian Gulf, a seaway bordering Iran and as such it was of military importance during the invasion and occupation.

The Coast Guard had a large part of securing the Iraqi coast.  For 7 years, the Coast Guard stood watch on the terminals and poked our “blue noses” into every ship in- or outbound.

Crew Photo of the Adak

But we had the great benefit of being homeported in Manama, Bahrain since there is no good port in Iraq. And as the video shows, we made the best of it.

Thanks Coastie, for the story and for your ol’ sea dogs helping out!