The second half of my 1/c summer has been very eventful. I had the opportunity to be a part of two different drug cases where there were narcotics on Venezuelan vessels. It was great finally getting an opportunity to do drug interdiction in the Caribbean. This mission is a more serious one in the Coast Guard because it can cause international incidents or put people in harm’s way. The personnel on the cutter I was on were very professional and took the mission seriously every step of the way. During the second part of the summer I was also able to do some migrant interdiction on the west coast of Puerto Rico. We encountered both Dominicans and Cubans. It was an unbelievable experience and unreal to think that people are willing to navigate that many miles in dangerous waters to get a chance of going to the United States. When we weren’t carrying out the mission, then we would enjoy some port calls. I got to drive the cutter into other islands in the Caribbean like St. Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola. We actually got to spend a couple of days in St. Thomas where we went to the beach and I met up with an old Academy friend who lives in St. Thomas now. I was on other islands that are unknown to people that aren’t Caribbean locals and saw some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, in part because they were so far removed from society. It was an overall great experience on a cutter based out of Puerto Rico.
I also spent about four weeks of that summer in Sector San Juan because the boat was experiencing a crew change so they needed to train other personnel and it exceeded the cutter’s maximum holding capacity. A lot of the jobs I did at sector were not as exciting as those on a cutter. My time at the sector included working in an office environment and doing paperwork; although I did have the opportunity to inspect containers that came from all over the world into Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard has the authority to inspect all the containers in the port for drugs, immigrants and other illegal substances. We didn’t find any contraband although there were a lot of random things to be found in the containers such as Styrofoam cups, mountain bikes, baseballs, plastic forks, etc. The good thing about working at sector is that the job is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for most of the days and then you are able to go home. So it is just like any other job anywhere else. This time off gave me the opportunity to go out and explore Puerto Rico with my shipmates.
More about Carlos.