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If it were up to me, I would've been flying helicopters in Sitka, Alaska, last summer. But I didn't qualify as an aircraft commander, so my planned transfer fell through. Upset and disappointed, I settled in for my fourth year at the Coast Guard's air station in Clearwater, Florida.
If I'd had my way, I would've been more than 3,000 miles away from where God wanted me last August.
Prelude to disaster
Though much of the nation was watching as Hurricane Katrina swerved toward the Gulf Coast, I was not. My air station crew had been prepared to fly our aircraft out of the way of the storm, but by Saturday, Aug. 27, with the storm no longer threatening Clearwater, I was told that wouldn't be necessary. I stopped monitoring Katrina and went about my fun weekend.
It was early Monday morning, Aug. 29, when my Current Operations Duty Officer called to tell me to stay home that day. "Rest and pack a bag," he said. "We might use you for something later." I didn't know that Hurricane Katrina, a …