This summer, millions of people around the world and our country sat down to watch the Olympic Games, as the best athletes alive strove for victory. The three United States Coast Guard cutter crews homeported here in Astoria held their own Olympic games at Tongue Point last Thursday to boost morale, strengthen relationships, and determine who was the best in a series of events related to work and life aboard a ship at sea. Select crewmembers representing Cutters Fir, Alert and Steadfast entered different events to compete for top cutter crew in this year’s Cutterman’s Olympics.
Events included the bridle pull, where designated crewmembers from each cutter used chain hooks to pull a 50-foot metal chain from start to finish in the shortest amount of time. The heaving line toss provided crewmembers the opportunity to show off their distance and accuracy skills. Such skills are critical in getting mooring lines to the pier, allowing a cutter to tie-up safely.
Damage control events included a station where fire fighting skills were put to the test. Another station tested the speed and cooperation required to dress out in “battle gear,” the clothing and equipment required to safely fight onboard fires at sea. The possibility of such fires are a reality of life for crews in an aging Coast Guard Cutter fleet.
To conclude the heated competition of the day, a post-games barbeque allowed all three crews to intermingle and laugh, something critical to the success of Coast Guard missions both on and off-shore.
A chili cook-off proved which ship had the best potential to keep a happy crew at sea.
“The aroma and flavor of a delicious hearty meal is the true heart and core of cutter life,” said Petty Officer 1st Class David Hoover, food service specialist aboard Cutter Fir.
The day’s winning cutter crew was the Steadfast. They were passed the commemorative plaque that goes to the winning ship each year.
“This event provides an opportunity for Cutterman in the area to meet their counterparts on the other ships, show off some of their skills, and earn some bragging rights,” said Chief Warrant Officer Hamilton Long, engineering officer aboard Cutter Alert and master of ceremonies for this year’s event.