I've been looking at the pictures of the devastated towns and thinking of where I would put my command post. I've closely examined the faces and bodies of the injured in the photos and video and found myself thinking of treatment procedures. I've seen the hundreds of bodies floating in the water amid debris and am thinking of cleanup methods.

I've responded to disasters, I've treated the sick, I've distributed food and supplies and I've recovered bloated bodies of the dead from the water. I CAN help. I've done it before. I, and many of my brothers and sisters in the Coast Guard can help. We're really good at it. History has shown that to be true.

If my commanding officer called me right now, "Maddog, be ready to hop at 0800, we're heading East." I'd be turned out and ready to deploy by 0730.

We have the a collection of the best military organizations in the world. We are all volunteers and do this because we feel it's right. Why are we not on the ground in Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka?

Why do Coast Guardsmen get injured and die in Iraq protecting oil platforms when there is the biggest humanitarian need right around the corner? That's what we do, Dammit! Coasties save lives! Set us loose to do our job!!

We are a fat, rich country. We have a force of men and women who are smart, flexible, competent and compassionate. I can think of no shipmate of mine, past or present, who would not drop everything and run to aid if the Commandant just said so.

We're helpless. We don't have to be.

Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!


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