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In November 1972, the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis ran aground during a violent storm in Alaska, puncturing its hull, with a temporary patch applied to stop the flooding. The following day, enroute back to Honolulu, another, more vicious, storm struck; Jarvis now struggled with over thirteen feet of water in their engine room and no power. The nearest ship that volunteered to assist was scheduled to arrive thirty minutes after the Jarvis officers estimated the ship would be destroyed on the rocky coastline. Wind gusts struck at seventy-knots, hail and snow was falling, and at one time, Jarvis hit a swell at a sixty-degree angle.
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Excerpt "All Present and Accounted For"
December 23, 2018
Those who have experienced Alaska, know the dangers. Captain Webster Balding was well aware of Alaska with over thirteen years of sea service under his belt. At his Coast Guard Jarvis change of command ceremony in 2012, when he was being relieved, commented “I’ve been aboard a ship in Dutch Harbor in hurricane strength storms before. The weather in Alaska is very unforgiving; especially in November as low-pressure systems roll one after the other across the Bering Sea from Siberia.” Many Coast Guard members stationed in Alaska have stories of tragedy that they can’t erase. Crewmember Joe Borosh commented that often they would receive an SOS from a fishing vessel; upon arrival, find only debris and bodies. In one particularly unsettling case, they arrived at the location and saw a man floating. “He was waving at us, and we proceeded towards the man. On arrival, I grabbed the man’s hand only to realize he was frozen solid. He was bobbing in the water rather than waving at us.”