"Mima Meets the United States' Finest and a Fellow Idahoan"
"United States Coast Guard cutter Thetis, United States Coast Guard cutter Thetis, this is the sailing vessel Mima, over". "Sailing vessel Mima, United States Coast Guard cutter Thetis, over". "Coast Guard cutter Thetis, this is Mark Wheeler aboard Mima, we are anchored across the bay at your seven o'clock, over". "Sailing vessel Mima, this is Coast Guard cutter Thetis, looks like you have a nice spot over there captain how may we help you,over?" Thus began a very memorable day aboard for the 4Wheelers.
The April 6th addition of Parade magazine,recently brought to us by Grandma and Grandpa Rainguet, Susan's parents, tells the story of Randy Pausch and his inspiring last lecture at Carnegie Mellon University. Randy is dying of pancreatic cancer and one of the lessons he hopes his children will remember when he passes away is to ask for what you want. With this as inspiration I mustered up the courage to radio the Coast Guard cutter that two days prior had dramatically steamed into the bay and anchored near us in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Marshall had an upcoming birthday and we thought a visit aboard would be a great early surprise birthday present. We also figured it was a good homeschooling field trip, and we simply wanted to see the cutter. After confirming schedules we were graciously invited aboard. All4Wheelers and Grandma and Grandpa loaded into the dingy and headed to Thetis. Welcomed by Ensign Tina Hendersin the next hour aboard was a fascinating glimpse into life aboard a Coast Guard vessel.
Commissioned in 1988, the medium endurance cutter Thetis combines the graceful lines of a lady with a "built for purpose" attitude that demands attention and respect. When this 270 foot long lady steams into harbor everyone takes note, especially Marshall wondering about the cannon on her foredeck. Stationed out of Key West, Thetis serves a dual mission, protect U.S. coastal waters and her interests and provide aid to vessels in distress.
We were also welcomed by Commander Tom Crabbs who spoke with us at length and was a delight to meet. When Commander Crabbs learned we were living aboard our sailboat,homeschooling, and from Idaho, he quickly summoned two men to the flight deck for us to meet. One an officer who had lived aboard a sailboat as a kid and was home schooled, the other was Kuna,Idaho native Seaman Morgan Custer.
Standing on the flight deck with the beautiful coast guard helicopter as a backdrop it was wonderful for the kids and us to talk about our shared experiences and to meet fellow Idahoan, Morgan Custer. Morgan would make any parent or Idahoan proud. He was polite, articulate and possessed a wholesome characteristic valued so highly by those of us fortunate to live in Idaho. Morgan represents Idaho well and we are sure his family and friends are very proud of him.
Our visit aboard was culminated by Commander Crabbs presenting to Marshall and Amy the ships coin. The coins are being framed along with a picture from our time aboard Thetis and will have a permanent place aboard Mima. Marshall writes, "Thanks for letting our family aboard and for the coin.I really like the helicopter and the cannon. This was a great birthday present and thanks for the protection". Amy wrote in her thank you letter, "Thank you for the tour of your vessel and the coin. It was fun to see what the bedrooms were like and I am glad that you have good food on board. My dad wanted one of your electronic devices for our boat and it is really cool that you have someone on board from Idaho (our home state)."
Three days after Thetis left we listened to our SSB radio as a different Coast Guard cutter responded to a fellow cruiser with a medical emergency aboard. Our recent experience aboard Thetis gave us a renewed and more accurate perception of the fine individuals who serve each of us in the United States Coast Guard. Thanks Commander Crabbs, Ensign Hendersin, Seaman Custer and crew of Thetis for a memorable experience and the fine example you set as truly being America's finest. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Thetis.
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