[By Kara Noto, MyCG]
The events of Sept. 11 and the Coast Guard’s role as a first responder in New York Harbor are memorialized in the service’s Patriot Day mantra – “never forget.” However, an increasing number of the latest generation of coastguardsmen are too young to remember the attacks. Conversations with those who were present help to pass the service’s memory on.
In this discussion, Capt. Michael Day – who coordinated the mass boatlift evacuation in New York Harbor on September 11, 2001 – speaks with Lt. Kiley Relf, who was still a child at the time of the attack. After joining the Coast Guard, Lt. Relf served at Day’s former command in New York City.
Capt. Day: What’s your first memory of that day?
Lt. Relf: I was in fourth grade living in Chicago. I remember my teacher turning on the classroom’s TV in a frenzy. This was back when the TVs used to be on the carts and you pulled them from the back. She pulled the TV out and turned on the news and I just saw smoke and fire everywhere. I didn’t really know what was going on. My teacher explained what happened. That America had been attacked. That was all we really knew in that moment. Originally we thought it was an accident because at that time only one tower had fallen. Maybe an hour or so later my mom came to pick up my brother and [me] from school – she was crying hysterically. She thought my dad was going to go to New York since he was a police officer, and first responders were being deployed, shipped off to help. That was my first memory. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I was really confused.
Capt. Day: You went on to be stationed in New York City. What were your thoughts driving down the West Side Highway, being where the towers once stood, passing the 9/11 Memorial site? What were your thoughts being stationed there 15 years after the 9/11 you experienced as a fourth grader?
Lt. Relf: I was very moved. I know that those events on September 11, 2001, changed my life more as an adult than it did at the actual time that it happened. Being in New York, you’re actually there: you see it, you witness it, and you still feel the impact of September of 2001. Even 19 years later, you feel that impact. While I was stationed in New York, we participated in the Tunnels to Towers run and just seeing that, running through the Brooklyn Battery tunnel, I can only imagine how New York Firefighter Steven Siller felt when he ran through the tunnel to respond.
Capt. Day: You worked with a lot of people at Sector New York that were working at the Sector on September 11th. Did you ever talk to those guys about their experiences?
Lt. Relf: I spoke with the warrant officers that were actually present at Sector New York at the time of the attack and were also stationed there years later, when I was there. It was very interesting to hear their perspective and hear how everything happened physically, on that day. One of the warrants would tell me his story and he would get very emotional. He could never tell the story start to finish without crying. It was very hard for him to speak on it – he physically saw the plane hitting the second tower.
Capt. Day: Do you think we’re prepared to respond to a similar event?
Lt. Relf: It will always hurt us and impact us whether you’re one or 100. I don’t think we’re ever prepared for something like what happened, emotionally. As a service, yes. I think we’re equipped with the people and the training we need to have.
Capt. Day: Never forget.
Lt. Relf: Exactly. You were a lieutenant stationed in New York on September 11, 2001. How do you feel the maritime community has changed since that time?
Capt. Day: I think the maritime community would respond in a similar fashion in similar circumstances. I think it’s in their DNA to help one another – that’s a common bonds amongst people in the maritime community. It was years later that the Tom Hanks video came out that called attention to the efforts. It felt good to know we helped people along the way but the enormity of the situation didn’t lend itself to talking about it.
Lt. Relf: People sometimes ask what a hero looks like. But in that situation on that specific day how did the community, how did the Coast Guard interact together to help save lives.
Capt. Day: I think the relationships the Coast Guard has fostered with the maritime community, there’s a high level of trust. They were willing to listen to some direction from the Coast Guard as an authority on the water, and we took a proactive response. Everyone was moving in the right direction.
Lt. Relf: When you returned to New York as the Captain of the Port and when you participated in remembrance ceremonies, did your feelings about that day come back or change over time?
Capt. Day: I think they come back even stronger as time goes by. It’s a combination of being there seeing things but also learning more of what happened. Having more of an appreciation of how people’s lives have been impacted. I knew people in the tower that died that day – three people – and how their families’ lives have to go on without them. Seeing that gives you perspective.
Capt. Michael Day currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the Commandant. He previously served as commander, Sector New York and deputy commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. Day served at Coast Guard Activities New York during Sept. 11, coordinating one of the largest mass evacuations in U.S. history.
Lt. Kiley Relf currently serves as the Protocol Officer to the Commandant. She previously served as the Waterways Management Division Chief at Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia and as an Apprentice Marine Inspector at Sector New York.
Kara Noto is a special lecturer the Department of Journalism at Oakland University. This interview appears here in an abbreviated form and may be found in its original form here.
Go to Source
A massive fire broke out at the Port of Beirut on Thursday, incinerating a warehouse full of tires and oil within the port’s free zone. The same area was heavily damaged in the ammonium nitrate explosion that leveled the central port area and the adjacent waterfront on August 4. According to Lebanon’s civil defense agency, […]
Over the course of the past five days, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority arranged a medical intervention for an injured aboard a freighter in the Indian Ocean. On Saturday evening, the Spliethoff tweendecker Dolfijngracht called for assistance while under way about 1,000 nauical miles off the coast of Western Australia. A crewmember had sustained serious […]
The naval forces of the US and Bahrain recently staged a joint force training exercise which showcased the interoperability between coalition warships operating I the Arabian Gulf. Coalition Task Force Sentinel executed combined exercise Sentinel Shield supporting Sentry and Sentinel patrols in the coalition’s area of operations. The guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones and […]
With close to 100 daily cargo flights operated to a destination network spanning more than 65 cities across six continents, Emirates SkyCargo is delivering essential supplies and commodities to people around the world. The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tonnes of […]
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a Marine Accident Brief about an accident that occurred on April 15, 2019, involving the towing vessel DeJeanne Maria which struck the end of a submerged dredge pipeline while pushing two spud barges to the Gulf of Mexico. The incident occurred on the Mississippi River in Pass […]
DSV Belgium has solid experience in the transport of pharmaceutical products for different customers. With a pharma hub based at Brussels Airport a lot of experience and know-how has been built up over the years. Last weekend, the forwarder handled one hundred million mouth masks, an important milestone for its Belgian organisation that has put […]
Best known as a leading passenger airport serving Germany’s most populated federal state North Rhine-Westphalia, Düsseldorf has become transformed into a vital distribution point, during the COVID 19 pandemic, for medical equipment and other life-saving goods, mostly from China. Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, reports that the handling teams are working hard to […]
Astral Aviation has increased its intra-African network with cargo freighters during the pandemic. While there has been a reduction in capacity to, from, and within Africa, which has been caused by a stoppage of passenger flights and limited frequencies on freighter aircraft, Astral Aviation continues to operate cargo freighters from its Nairobi hub to 13 destinations […]
The UK government’s new post-Brexit tariff regime will result in both winners and losers. The new regime is set to replace the European Union’s Common External Tariff from the end of the Brexit Transition Period on December 31, 2020. The UK’s commitment to the ongoing Brexit process and ending the UK’s transition from EU membership […]
Global commercial aviation charter company Albion Aviation Group is reporting that it is seeing a considerable uptake in its professional cargo broker training courses from the current global pandemic crisis and surge in charter demand. “We have completed a number webinar courses for a whole of host of companies, looking to manage their own cargo […]
The U-Freight Group (UFL), with its considerable involvement in eCommerce logistics, says that the latest statistics showing that global e-commerce sales hit $25.6 trillion in 2018 are a further vindication of its decision to enter this sector of the international freight market several years ago. The latest available estimates, up 8% from 2017, were recently […]
Operators can continue to use pilots and other crew members who have unable to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements due to the COVID-19 outbreak in support of essential operations. Additionally, this Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) provides regulatory relief to certain persons and pilot schools unable to meet duration and […]
Emirates SkyCargo has expanded its weekly scheduled cargo flight operations to cover 75 destinations across six continents. Through its wider reach, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport essential commodities and other urgently needed cargo more rapidly across the world, allowing exporters and importers across markets to benefit from direct access to widebody cargo capacity. Some […]
Callan Marine is serving as the prime contractor to the Texas Department of Transportation for a maintenance dredging project located at the Bolivar Ferry Terminal, in Galveston, Texas. Work began in May and is estimated to be complete in late July 2020. The project consists of the removal of 600,000 cubic yards of material and […]
Network Airline Management and TAAG Angola Airlines are pleased to announce the renewal of their long-term freighter aircraft contract by an additional 12 months, sealing an ongoing partnership for the foreseeable future. Operating a regular weekly scheduled service from Liege, Belgium, to the capital of Angola, Luanda, Network Airline Management provides a Boeing 747-400F aircraft […]
Qatar Airways Cargo transported 56 SkyCell containers with vaccines from one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide on its scheduled freighter and belly-hold cargo flights for its customer, CEVA Logistics. The 54-tonne shipment consisting of pneumococcal and varicella vaccines were flown from Brussels to Mumbai via the carrier’s hub in Doha on two separate flights. […]