Hurricane Sandy forces Coast Guard to evacuate


      Hurricane Sandy leaves more than a thousand United States Coast Guard personnel without a place to call home for three days, according to Coast Guard Officials.  
    On October 28, 2012, the United States Coast was forced to evacuate from their homes in Cape May, New Jersey.  The Coast Guard base in Cape May is the Coast Guard’s only training facility.  The 270 recruits were relocated to a nearby base as to not interrupt their training regime.  The recruits boarded a bus to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to continue the training.  
    New Jersey Governor Christopher Christie declared a State of Emergency on October 27, 2012, just a day before the United States Coast Guard made a mandatory evacuation.  This State of Emergency is not the first one to force the Coast Guard to leave.  Those who were not recruits had to wait until the last-minute to leave according to Samantha Brown, a coast guard wife.    
    “It was nerve-racking having a dog and a cat to take with us on top of being one of the last to leave,” Brown said.   
    Just a little over a year ago Hurricane Irene forced the Coast Guard to evacuate to Cherry Hill, New Jersey or to Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst.  In 2011, Lt. j.g. Michael Cole, the public affairs officer for the training facility said, “This is a great training opportunity for our recruits.  As members of the US Coast Guard, they will be called on to be involved in hurricane preparations and evacuations, just as they are experiencing right now.”  This still reigns true for those in the military. In August of 2011, the Coast Guard was evacuated for five days.
    “This may be the first hurricane response in our recruits’ careers, but it will certainly not be their last.  This is what we do; when things are at their worst, the Coast Guard is at its best,” Captain William Kelly said when discussing the 2012 recruits.    
      The Coast Guard Base, located along the beach front in Cape May, was structurally untouched by Hurricane Sandy.  The Coast Guard reported that all 174 housing units had no visible damage done to them.  
    “It was crazy when the storm came and there was just wind and rain in our area.  We were all confused because of how much we had prepared for this perfect storm,” Brown said.
    Coast Guard personnel were not allowed to return home until Wednesday, October 31, 2012.  The United States Coast Guard recruits were also able to begin training at the Cape May base on Wednesday.
    The Coast Guard Base is also a tool for civilians as it provides child care services and a fitness center.  Those services were not open until Thursday, November 1, 2012.   

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