SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Each month SylacaugaNews.com and Yea!106.5 feature a veteran online and on-air, honoring them for their service to our country. The SylacaugaNews.com Veteran of the Month for May is Mark Hoffman.
*note SN is abbreviated SylacaugaNews.com, MH is abbreviated for our featured veteran, Mark Hoffman.
SN: What is your full name?
MH: Mark Hoffman
SN: What was your rank?
MH: I was a Senior Chief Storekeeper E8
SN: In what branch of service did you serve?
MH: Coast Guard
SN: What was your job?
MH: My job in the Coast Guard was primarily logistics. The Coast Guard is so small, there is less than 41,000 in the entire Coast Guard, you’re given a lot more duties. I dealt with hazardous materials, hazardous waste, did transportation of hazardous materials on military aircraft as well as commercial aircraft. I did transportation of freight, transportation of household goods, military pay, I had quite a varied career.
SN: When did you serve from and until?
MH: I came in in April 1975 and retired in June of 2001.
SN: Did you serve stateside or overseas?
MH: I spent my entire career on the West Coast. I had two tours in Alaska, I had one in Hawaii, Oregon, and several stations in California.
SN: What is something you remember most about your time serving?
MH: It was the time when I was on a ship out of Ketchikan, Alaska. We were inport at the time and we got a SAR (Search and Rescue) call. We did a recall of the crew, and got the ship underway within an hour, which is pretty good for a ship (it was a 180 foot buoy tender). The boat that was in trouble was a 75 foot crabber, he was in 8 foot seas, the seas were building, and he only had about 8 inches of freeboard aft. He had the full stern filled with crab pots that had just been pulled, so he had a lot of weight in the back. Our captain was talking to him about he needed to jettison his load, and for whatever reason, he did not want to, and our captain told him that he needed to get himself, as well as his three crew members, into survival suits. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any survival suits. By the time we got on scene, there was just debris in the water.
SN: If you could say anything to those who want to serve, what would you tell them?
MH: I would tell them that the Coast Guard is an absolutely fantastic service. If I could go back and serve another 26 years, I would. There’s everything in the world to do, occupationally speaking. You can be a marine science technician, we have ice breakers that go down to Antarctica and break ice to get the supply ships into McMurdo (a science station), you can be a rescue swimmer, and the rescue swimmers can either be on small boat stations as well as air stations. There’s just a plethora of things they have to choose from.