By Jeff Lindstrom


Is the new Coast Guard demoralized? Perhaps, but why? Regardless of politics and media coverage (and non-coverage), the modern Coast Guard is doing its job just as we old Coasties would have done. The gear may have changed, but the goal has not changed. While the links from the Donald Duck hats/sailor blues to the new Coasties may be tenuous, that is the fault of the training new Coasties receive. The tradition remains. Any lack of continuity is because during boot camp Coast Guard traditions and history have taken a back seat to politics and expediency.

The respective members of the "Old Guard" and the "New Guard" may speak different languages. I cannot believe, however, that the members of the "New Guard" donít feel the same emotions of those of the "Old Guard," particularly when the person being hauled out of the water and onto the cutter or boat looks into YOUR eyes -- his or her rescuer. If any of you can truly describe that moment, well, I salute you, because itís something that has to be experienced.

While the uniform may make the first impression, the action of the people in those uniforms really determines the publicís impression of the Coast Guard. The only "press" we have EVER received was and continues to be in times of disasters -- small or large -- and then quickly forgotten. Itís been true for many years, and I see no change.

Let us remember Ė the Coast Guard has fewer people than the New York City police department. Weíre just better. We knew it then and we know it now.


Return To Coast Guard Stories