Welcome to Retroman40's World!

Who's Guarding The Coast

I served in the United States Coast Guard from July1983 until 2009, retiring at the rank of Commander on July 1, 2009.  I am extremely proud of my time in the service and would like to share some of my memories here.   Please keep in mind that this section will probably remain a "work in progress" for some time (if not forever).  26 years is a long time.  This site serves as somewhat of an unofficial record of my service.  My goal here is to capture a period of time and allow the reader to get a feel for what it was like "back in the day".  The Coast Guard changed significantly during my 26 years and I am quite sure has continued to evolve since my departure over five years ago.  It's not just the equipment and missions that change either and the entire culture of the service continues to be in a constant state of change.  As I like to say, the only constant we have is change (I know, a bit cliché but it fits).  When I first joined, there were plenty of people I met who had been in during the 60s and 70s and I used to love to hear their stories about "the old guard".  Although they told some great yarns, there will be nearly nothing on this site that I do not/did not have first hand knowledge of.  If I am repeating a story about things that may have happened before my time I will be quite clear about it.

If you have come directly to this page via my "whosguardingthecoast.com" address I welcome you to my site.  You can learn a little more about me by clicking on HOME above.  While it might have been your interest in the Coast Guard that got you here, I certainly welcome you and hope you'll check out the rest of the site. 

A fair question for the reader to me is "how do you remember all this stuff, especially things like exact dates?"  Well, I have always been a bit of a journal keeper.  Additionally, I have my complete service record with copies of orders and other documentation.  I took a fair number of photos throughout my career (and looking back not enough!) and was pretty good at annotating them after they were printed (it was a little before the "digital age" we live in now).  I also have newspaper clippings and other "scrapbook" like documents.  If you read this and find something that is way off, please contact me and I will set it right (that is of course assuming that it was in error to begin with).  For the most part I have eliminated real names in the interest of privacy but mostly to "protect the guilty".  Some of the antics may seem a little over the top but trust me, in most cases I have in fact "watered down" the story to make it suitable for all readers.  One last note - if you think I'm talking about you I probably am and while I'll gladly correct any errors please don't ask me to revise history - even you don't particularly like it.

One thing I want to make clear is in no way am I trying to "make anyone look bad".  I have always thought that the Coast Guard had/has a great story to tell and for the most part hasn't really done a good job at it.  Just keep in mind that everything presented here is based on my own experiences and memories.  Some people may consider some of the items under "The Dark Side" to somehow be disrespectful.  I feel quite the contrary - it would be disrespectful NOT to tell the whole story.  With that said -

Disclaimer: This is NOT an official site and any opinions expressed here are my own and may not reflect the official views of the USCG.  If you are interested in the official stance of the Coast Guard, here is the link to the official USCG Site.  I should add however that I am not some disgruntled veteran with an ax to grind.  Quite the contrary is true; I still consider myself a "Coastie" and always will be.  I would never say or do anything to bring discredit upon the service in any way.  If my views on any issue are different than the "official" stance it is because it is something that I believe in deeply.  Remember, just because I don't necessarily agree 100% with something doesn't mean I don't respect it.  Sometimes there are tough decisions to be made and those of us who don't agree just have to suck it up.  Yes, I have included a section on "the dark side" (it's still under development) but I think people know that in any large organization there are a few "operators" and frankly stories of their exploits are often much more interesting than routine operations. With the service coming into the 21st century, I have also "come out" with a short story (based on real experience) on being gay in the Coast Guard.  Since this does happen I think it's important to tell these stories as they are a part of the history of the service.

The men and women of the United States Coast Guard have a tough job and are working 24/7/365 to keep all of us safe and secure in ways some (probably more like most) readers may not even realize.  My tribute to the crew of CG-1473 is a shining example of brave people giving the ultimate sacrifice in the service of others.  I hope you'll take the time to read it.  The same goes for my personal 911 reflection.

This section is now and will probably always be a work in progress.  If you hit a blank page bear with me as I will get it populated soon .  Since we can't be too serious all the time, if you want perhaps a few chuckles, you can check out my gallery of "Jim Through The Years".  It has some classic photos of me taken throughout my career.  You can also check out my USCG Fun Stuff page. 
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