Red Crew: Fighting the War on Drugs with Reagan's Coast Guard

Red Crew: Fighting the War on Drugs with Reagan's Coast Guard

by Jim Howe
Red Crew: Fighting the War on Drugs with Reagan's Coast Guard

Red Crew: Fighting the War on Drugs with Reagan's Coast Guard

by Jim Howe


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Red Crew is a first-hand account of U.S. Coast Guard anti-smuggling operations during the early years of the nation's maritime war on drugs. Jim Howe describes his experience as the executive officer of a specialized drug-hunting crew that sailed in then-state-of-the-art "surface effect ships," a small flotilla of high-speed vessels pressed into the drug war on short notice.

In the early 1980s, South Florida and the Caribbean were awash in illicit drugs, with hundreds of smuggling organizations bringing huge loads of marijuana, and later cocaine, into the United States. To fight this epidemic, the Reagan administration led a massive effort to disrupt shore-side gangs while bolstering interdiction activity at sea. To increase the number of days at sea for each surface effect ship, a "multi-crewing" concept was employed, with four teams of sixteen sailors--the Red, Blue, Green, and Gold Crews--rotating among three hulls.

Through its first-person narrative, Red Crew offers a rare glimpse into the day-to-day pressures, challenges, failures, and successes of Coast Guard cuttermen as they carried out complex and dangerous missions. Red Crew provides a unique historical view of the early days in the Coast Guard's war on drugs, and is the only book-length history of the diminutive, one-of-a-kind surface effect ship fleet.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682475553
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 08/15/2020
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Capt. Jim Howe, USCG (Ret.), served 27 years in the U.S. Coast Guard, eleven at sea and five in command. A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, he has earned master's degrees in government, strategic studies, and space studies. Captain Howe works in the nuclear power industry.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction On Board USCGC Shearwater 1

Chapter 1 Plank-Owner Crew 7

Chapter 2 On Patrol 38

Chapter 3 Snake-Bit 64

Chapter 4 First Blood 86

Chapter 5 Raising the Bar 117

Chapter 6 Double Vision 145

Chapter 1 Seeing It All 174

Chapter 8 The Gift of Life 201

Chapter 9 Promise Fulfilled 231

Epilogue Reflections 265

Index 275

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