Coast Guard collects honor, eyes extra work along Pittsburgh's rivers
Mike Flynn was feeling a little extra pressure this fall.
The Coast Guard reservist was leading the group's color guard, in addition to his usual once-a-month stints of patrolling the rivers.
That meant helping to get the force ready for its first appearance in leading Pittsburgh's Veterans Day parade. And it paid off, with his group on Sunday winning the parade's first prize for best veterans' color guard.
“We were proud to be there, for sure, and proud to be representing the United States Coast Guard,” said Flynn, 35, of Westwood, a full-time patrol officer for the city police. “We are very small, so it's nice to be visible and hear people cheering for us.”
It's been a big few weeks for the Pittsburgh Marine Safety Unit, or MSA, a group of 28 active-duty officers and 29 reservists based out of Downtown. In addition to their spotlight at the city parade, the guard's national leaders floated a proposal on Oct. 30 that would allow shale drilling wastewater to come right through the Port of Pittsburgh. The unit here would have to inspect the boats leaving the port to deliver frackwater.
“It is going to be additional work, but it's not like we couldn't handle it,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Lindsay Weaver-Marcenelle. “Even if they added 10 barges, and we had to inspect 10 barges, we can do it.”
Pittsburgh is the second-biggest inland port in the country after St. Louis, establishing a big responsibility for the local Coast Guard, which oversees 328 miles of the Three Rivers in three states, Weaver-Marcenelle said.
The Coast Guard does everything from approving emergency plans for oil and chemical operations to keeping boaters safe at the annual regatta.
The unit conducts one or two inspections every day, Weaver-Marcenelle said. It has to check every barge and commercial boat in the port, which includes industrial shippers and tourist boats. It's helping Just Ducky Tours plan to lay out and build the required safety equipment into a vessel it just bought, Weaver-Marcenelle said.
Her unit can handle drilling wastewater — or frackwater — too, if that work is eventually approved, she said. A public comment period ends on Nov. 29, and the Coast Guard will review those comments before making a decision.
The Coast Guard inspects the integrity of the vessel, safety preparations and equipment, Weaver-Marcenelle said.
The city's Coast Guard unit often gets overshadowed by the presence of Army and Air Force reserve units in Coraopolis because they're a lot bigger, said Tony Filardi, the adjunct treasurer in the Federation of War Veterans Societies of Allegheny County, the parade organizer.
He said the Coast Guard performed wonderfully when its officers led the show.
“I was looking for something a little bit different,” Filardi said of asking the Coast Guard to lead, with Weaver-Marcenelle as grand marshal. “They're veterans also. As far as I'm concerned, all veterans deserve an equal chance.”
Timothy Puko is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Review: Score, costumes shine in Pittsburgh Public Theater’s ‘My Fair Lady’
- Second lawsuit filed against Gov. Wolf seeking reinstatement of open records director
- McCord to plead guilty to federal charges from campaign fundraising
- Monessen woman dies in truck-car crash on Route 51 in Fayette County
- Snow can be positive for garden, but negatives can be a slippery slope
- LaBar: WWE not backing down from controversy
- Review: Stylish whodunit ‘The Loft’ doesn’t reach narrative heights
- Pirates sign 2 to minor league deals
- Prison artists add works to Braddock Carnegie’s art-lending library
- ‘Black or White’ leaves Kevin Costner spent — emotionally and financially
- Pittsburgh mayor denies ethics investigation into his ‘Undercover Boss’ performance