An op/ed piece from up-state New York:
Amidst all the uncertainty surrounding the future of New Orleans and its inhabitants, there is or should be one certainty: The United States Coast Guard should have no difficulty meeting its recruitment quota -- assuming it has one.Mr. Rossie goes on to discuss the Navy pilots who diverted to save lives and then got in trouble... and he has a few words to say about the President's mother, too.
The guess here, after watching the heroic efforts of those Coast Guard helicopter rescue teams plucking people off the roofs of flooded houses in New Orleans, is that more than a few young men and women who saw it as well may have altered their career plans.
Against that ghastly panorama of bureaucratic incompetence and administrative indifference, the Coast Guard's efforts shone as a reminder of what Americans can do when challenged, just as their comrades in arms in Afghanistan and Iraq are doing under the same circumstances.
Americans in general have responded predictably to the plight of stricken New Orleanians, opening their hearts and checkbooks in a remarkable show of concern. And the international community has done the same, a reminder-- and one is needed -- that the rest of the world can and does distinguish between people and their government.
Anyway, back to recruiting.
With a heightened profile in recent years and a heroic image that isn't entwined in wartime politics, the Coast Guard isn't having any trouble recruiting active duty members across the country....They're even coming from other services.
The destruction of Hurricane Katrina has once again highlighted the Coast Guard's role as a front-line rescue squad in disasters, with images of distinctive orange-hued helicopters plucking helpless survivors from the roofs of buildings.
Even in the bustling port city of Seattle, where Coast Guard choppers and boats are a familiar sight, those television images have prompted more than a few calls from would-be recruits, said Randal Dennis, chief of the city's recruiting office.
"These disasters that happen ... the Coast Guard is at the forefront of rescuing people," Dennis said.