Truly, truly multi-mission

Juniper Skimming

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. – Chief Petty Officer Brad Frost, of Hampden, Maine, directs the crane operator while stowing boom from the Spilled Oil Recovery System onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Juniper June 12, 2010. The crew of the Juniper, homeported in Newport, R.I., is skimming oil near the Alabama and Florida coast. In addition, the crews of the Coast Guard Cutter Oak, homported in Charleston, S.C., and the Coast Guard Cutter Cypress homeported in Mobile, Ala., which are also engaged in oil skimming in the area. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Colin White.

Written by: Capt. Bob Whitehouse

Approaching pier two at Naval Station Newport, R.I., it’s hard to mistake the nature of work prescribed to the 1st Coast Guard District’s two ocean going buoy tenders  Juniper and Willow.  But despite the forest of buoy hulls and chain, there is so much more to their world of work than their class implies.

It’s more than cliché to say that all Coast Guard cutters are multi-mission.  But in fairness, some are more than others; perhaps none more than a Seagoing Buoy Tender.

Consider this:

* Each winter, Juniper’s and Willow’s crew break ice to groom the Hudson River Channel, ensuring critical energy supplies are provided to the Northeast.

* In 2009, Willow’s crew deployed to the Florida Straits for Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations, interdicting and repatriating 59 illegal migrants. The crew also served as on-scene coordinator for the rescue of the crew of the fishing vessel Lou and assessment of the environmentally-sensitive Dry Tortugas National Park after the vessel sank.

* In the spring of 2010, Juniper’s crew served as the stand-by evacuation platform for the U.N. General Assembly and G20 Summit.

* In the summer of 2010, Juniper’s crew deployed for 133 days to the Gulf of Mexico in response to the Deepwater Horizon spill of national significance.  They recovered 145,000 gallons of oil and implemented innovative skimming and lightering techniques.

* In April 2011, Juniper’s crew conducted a heavy-weather tow of the fishing vessel Viking Pride, disabled in 20-foot seas, 50 miles southwest of Montauk, N.Y., saving the crew of three and their vessel.

* This fall, Willow’s crew deployed towed sonar equipment in support of the marine investigation surrounding the sinking of the fishing vessel Mandy Ness off of Barnegat, N.J.

* Juniper’s crew recently supported a joint missile firing exercise with the Navy nearly 200 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Mass.

Willow St. Johns

ST. JOHNS, Newfoundland - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Willow crewmembers standing in formation while departing St. John's, Newfoundland, Aug. 2, 2011. The crew is starting a joint operation with Canadian naval forces. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Luke Clayton.

* Late last summer, Willow’s crew deployed to the Arctic as part of Operation Nanook, engaging in combined maritime operations with Canadian and Danish forces.  During this operation, the crew navigated to 84 degrees north latitude, the northern most deployment of a vessel in their class.  Upon the conclusion of Nanook, the crew engaged in a Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Patrol with an embarked Canadian inspector.  Juniper’s crew will sail on a similar voyage in late summer 2012.

* This winter, while conducting a fisheries patrol off the coast of New England, Willow’s crew terminated the voyage of a fishing vessel due to insufficient lifesaving equipment. Later, while servicing buoys, the crew noticed a fishing vessel acting suspiciously.  Quickly shifting their focus from maintaining buoys to law enforcement, the crew boarded the vessel to inspect it for any potential illegal activities that could harm living marine resources.

* On April 15th, 2012, Juniper’s crew commemorated the centennial of the sinking of the RMS Titanic at the ship’s resting site 1,000 miles east of Boston. The crew laid more than 1.5 million dried rose petals donated by the Titanic Museum Attractions.

* Collectively, both crews maintain more than 300 aids to navigation, including critical channel markers for the approaches to economically and strategically significant ports along the New England coast.

Whether interdicting migrants, conducting fisheries boardings, skimming oil, exploring the Arctic, working with Department of Defense partners, or rescuing mariners in distress, the Seagoing Buoy Tender fleet serves the First District and the Coast Guard with distinction.  It’s more than a mantra.  Multi-mission is their brand of service!

Juniper crew drills

NORTH ALANTIC - Repair locker teams aboard the 225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Juniper manage communications and plot information of an at sea fire drill while underway April 13, 2012. The Juniper crew routinely performs drills to maintain the crew's effectiveness to combat any damage to the ship. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Rob Simpson.