Local Coast Guard unit receives national award

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The Coast Guard’s 9th District Command Center in Cleveland won the Rescue Coordination Center Search and Rescue Controller of the Year Award for 2004.

The award recognizes the unit for its investigative work, use of limited resources, and search planning skills, which enabled them to locate two missing boaters in northern Lake Huron during an August 2003 case where one person was in the water for 31 hours.

“This case had all the elements of a classic, difficult-to-solve overdue case: uncertain datum, uncertain time of distress, uncertain nature of distress, uncertain search target, and large potential search area,” said SAR team included Jerome Popiel. Additional challenges included inclement weather and limited heavy weather surface resources.

“By careful analysis of the case, astute planning and sheer persistence, the SAR planners were able to direct resources to the scene of the rescue in time to find both missing people alive,” said Popiel. n