U.S. COAST GUARD
Lt. Cmdr. Bill Walsh, commanding officer of Coast Guard Station New York, speaks with Vice Adm. Robert C. Parker, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, Nov. 6 about the damage his unit sustained from a storm surge during Hurricane Sandy.
Parker met with Coast Guard members from Stations Sandy Hook and New York and Aids-to-Navigation Team New York.
are looking at things that you used to think were familiar and you can’t quite figure out where you are
because an entire boardwalk or a block is missing,
those were things I was not completely prepared for.
It’s pretty sobering to overfly and then see that.
How are recovery efforts going?
PARKER: This was a huge event and the recovery continues, even today, but it’s going well. We are fairly
practiced at these types of events and the preparation
work before it usually gives us a pretty good idea on
how to handle it, but each one is unique and scaled
We are in recovery mode right now, where we try to
return to our full operating capability. We are not near
that capability in about a third of the units that we had
up in the most impacted area around the New
York/New Jersey line. Anywhere that had the high
storm surge in the coastal areas had a lot of damage.
There were three areas that were particularly hard
hit. Up by Sandy Hook, our military housing units
were actually flooded and we don’t think we are going
to get sewage back out there for quite awhile. We have
reconstituted the mission from that area, but the Coast
Guard families have not been able to move back in and
that provides us with a unique challenge.
What is the Coast Guard’s specific role with
PARKER: The service has a unique authority to act and
coordinate in these types of responses. We also always
work in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. We took on the search-and-rescue coordinator function of this event. Our priorities are safety
of life and property first, and then we try to get the
maritime transportation system restored as quickly as
possible in affected areas. We also work to quickly
reconstitute our affected stations.