CG DART responds to flood waters in Morgan City, La.
Posted by PA3 Casey Ranel, Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Story by PA2 Renee C. Aiello
When disaster is looming the Coast Guard is staged to respond. The 2011 midwest floods is one such natural disaster requiring the assistance of Coast Guardsmen from various units throughout the Eighth Coast Guard District. Due to residential flooding, this particular response required the use of Coast Guard Disaster Area Response Teams.
Chief Petty Officer James Gribble, a reservist who drills out of Coast Guard Sector Upper Mississippi River, in St. Louis, Mo., has been tasked with leading a DART staged out of Morgan City, La. Every day the DART has been trailering boats to various launches to assess the rising flood water, and gain a better understanding of the small towns dotting southern Louisiana waterways.
“We have been conducting daily area familiarization tours and water surveys,” said Gribble. “It’s extremely important for us to be out here not only to assess the water table, but also to interact with the local community so they know we are here to help,” he said.
The Morgan City DART is a contingent of active duty and reserve Coast Guardsmen from an array of Sector Upper Mississippi units. A variety of rates are represented in the DART, including boatswain’s mates, machinery technicians, storekeepers and marine science technicians.
The crews are trained to complete shallow water search and rescue in 16-foot flood punts, which are similar to skiffs. Typically the boat is manned by a two-person crew, of which both are qualified navigators.
“This is an excellent opportunity for the active duty and reserve members to work together and learn from one another,” said Gribble. “Every day, regardless if there is search and rescue, these crews are brushing up on navigation, seamanship and working on their interpersonal skills,” said Gribble.