LCDR Molly Waters
Assistant Program Manager for Evergreen IV
Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington
Igraduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 2003 and my first unit was the heavy icebreaker Mackinaw.
It’s not the current one that’s afloat, but rather the
old one that’s now in a museum. She was 10,000 horsepower of red, steel and sex appeal and an amazing
ship. It was such a privilege to learn how to drive her.
It was the best possible start to a career between the
ship’s mission and the command climate onboard.
Then I was sent to a patrol boat out in San Juan,
Puerto Rico, to be the executive officer, so I got the
opportunity to learn the alien migrant interdiction
mission along with the counterdrug operations, and
that was also a fantastic opportunity to see human lives
in a real desperate situation. It’s important to understand what a lot of other people in the world are going
through. We pulled a lot of desperate souls out of a lot
of bad boats out there.
After that, I found myself in Valdez, Alaska, running
the vessel traffic center there. Alaska was beautiful and
that was a rewarding job, but I certainly wanted to get
back to sea.
I was lucky enough to get aboard an oceangoing
buoy tender out of Astoria, Ore. I absolutely loved that
mission. That was my first aids-to-navigation [ATON]
mission and 37 of our buoys were of the 20,000-pound
variety. We worked with pretty big seas with a floating
crane. It was incredibly dangerous but rewarding work.
After that, I was exceedingly lucky to be given command of an icebreaking tug out of Cleveland. Those little
ships, the 140-foot ones, are tough and can do amazing
things in the ice. Having my own crew was positively
incredible. When I had to leave at the end of the tour, I
felt like I had to put my 17 sons up for adoption.
Currently, my job requires me to look over the horizon, trying to figure out what the world will look like
years from now. We look at alternative future scenarios. We look at those worlds and try to figure out what
the Coast Guard would need to do to prepare for that
We don’t develop strategy, we develop strategic
needs or things that inform our strategies. The Coast
Guard used that method in 2012 with regard to Cuba
and, lo and behold, it’s now happened, so we are now
more prepared for it.
I have enjoyed the people the most in the Coast
Guard. I don’t even have to think about that. It’s the
high-quality people that make every day worth living.
They make me laugh and want to go to work every day.
What’s been most surprising is how schizophrenic a
single career path can be. I am considered to be a float
operations specialist, yet I have done domestic icebreaking, alien migrant interdiction, ATON and law
enforcement. All that’s considered to be one career
path, but I have never been bored. ■
“We don’t develop strategy, we develop strategic needs or things that inform our
strategies. The Coast Guard used that method in 2012 with regard to Cuba and,
lo and behold, it’s now happened, so we are now more prepared for it.”
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 88 SEAPOWER / JULY/AUGUST 2015
LCDR Molly Waters stands with RADM Fred M. Midgette,
Coast Guard Ninth District commander and current Gold
Ancient Mariner, during the change of command ceremony
for the 140-foot icebreaking tug Neah Bay, held at its home-
port of Cleveland July 25, 2014. Midgette presided over the
ceremony at which Waters was relieved by LT Joshua Zike.