CGC Chippewa to play integral role in historic midwest floods
Posted by PA3 Casey Ranel, Monday, May 23, 2011
Story by PA2 Renee C. Aiello
The Coast Guard Cutter Chippewa, a 75-foot river buoy tender, homeported in Buchanan, Tenn., will be playing a integral role in the recovery and restoration of both floating aids to navigation and shore aides destroyed and/or misplaced by the 2011 historic midwest floods.
Master Chief Petty Officer Scott Ehrich, officer-in-charge of the Chippewa, knows that he and his crew of 14 will be working overtime to complete the mission.
“I’ve been warning the crew to be ready. We are going to be busy, but we are ready to support the mission. This is what we are trained to do,” said Ehrich.
The Chippewa’s area of responsibility runs from mile marker 918 on the Ohio River to mile marker 981 in Cairo, Ill. Additionally the crew maintains aids from Chester, Ill., on the Upper Mississippi River to Cairo. Ehrich explained that Cairo is geographically where the Upper and Lower Mississippi Rivers, and the Ohio River all meet.
Ehrich anticipates beginning ATON recovery and restoration on or around Wednesday, May 25, 2011. He noted that in total the crew is responsible for approximately 430 floating aids to navigation; about 130 floating aids on the Ohio River portion in his AOR, and 300 floating aids on the Upper Mississippi River portion of his AOR. Additionally there are 13 shore aids along the Ohio River and 65 shore aids along the Upper Mississippi River.
ATON is a vital means to river systems throughout the United States. Both floating and shore aids are utilized by boat pilots and vessel captains to safely transit the Upper and Lower Mississippi Rivers, as well as the Ohio River.
“We need to get the ATON up and running. The sooner we get out there the better. Mariners depend on ATON to safely navigate the river systems,” said Ehrich.