Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Star Spangled 200 Sailabration at FOMC! A Great Success!

On June 12th, Erik and I travelled up to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland with our supervisor for the Star Spangled 200 Sailabration. The event was to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and the writing of our nation's anthem The Star Spangled Banner. The Sailabration brought in over 40 tall ships and navy ships from all over the world into the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. There was a demonstration of the Mark Five and the Zodiac of the Navy Special Warfare Combat Craft (SWCC.)  The U.S. Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron The Blue Angels entertained the city of Baltimore all weekend as well, with low flying maneuvers and exceptionally brilliant team work. Saturday night hosted a firework show out in the harbor for visitors from all over.

 It was an exciting and fun packed 7 days for Erik and I. Even with all the fun, we still had work to do. This was the first time I had ever worked under the ICS, or Incident Command System. I had done online training for the system before on FEMA, but never worked an incident yet. The ICS is a structured incident management team with five different areas following a specific chain of command. These areas are Command, Operations, Logistics, Planning, and Finance or Admin.

On my first full day at Fort McHenry, I had to help out with parking detail. The main parking lots were already full after the first few morning hours, so we had to go out of park territory to a private parking lot for the overflow. The lot was owned by the state and they allowed us to use it for such a big event. This was my first time directing a huge mass of people and helping them get in and out of the lot without creating any auto vehicle collisions. I passed! There were no accidents and I actually had many visitors compliment me on how fast and easy I made it for them to find a parking spot in such a large lot. It was because of the teamwork of the parking team and the great communication over comms that we were able to quickly and safely direct traffic.

The next day I worked with Logistics and supplied food and drinks to the whole crew working the event. I had a great time working in the lunch room as I was fortunate to meet a variety of different people from different job backgrounds. It is a great thing to network and become familiar with people. Most likely you will work with them again one day! I want to say hi to everyone I had the opportunity to meet over this past week and to thank you for all of your great advice which will help me in my future years as an LE Ranger!

My next days at Fort McHenry were days working the rope lines of the Star Fort and the Seawall Trail. I worked as a lead, mostly on the Seawall Trail and one day at the Star Fort. As I lead, I still worked under a  supervisor, who was an LE Ranger at Fort McHenry. She was very informative and helpful as she gave me great tips for not only the event, but for my future job as an LE Ranger in the NPS as well. Being a lead, I had a team of rangers who worked for me in the section we were assigned to. Like I previously stated, most of the time I worked along the Seawall Trail. The Seawall that surrounds the Star Fort and its land is considered to be a historic object in the park and must be protected. Therefore no one is to walk along the Seawall. Also for safety reasons, we did not want people near it and accidentally fall into the harbor. A fence was installed along the walking trail, blocking off access to the historic Seawall and the grassy patch in front of it. My team and I set up a long the inside of the fence, facing the visitors. We were to keep out any visitors, to assist them with any questions they might have, and to keep a look out for any suspicious or risky activity. Since I was assigned as a lead, it was also my responsibility continuously walk our assigned area and check on all of the team members. I wanted to make sure everyone was drinking fluids, getting breaks, wearing sunblock, feeling alright, and not having any problems. I was given a radio in order to keep my team and myself in contact with our rope line supervisor. Overall I think everything went extremely well! I want to thank my teams for working cohesively and making my job a lot easier. We only had minor problems trying to keep people off the Seawall and actually many visitors seemed happy to have us there. I was able to chat with visitors from all over which I really enjoyed. They seemed to have great experiences at the Sailabration and thanked me for doing my job.

The time I spent at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is time that I will never forget. I more than enjoyed myself and loved all the people I met along the way. I hope I am able to work more incidents like this in the future. I was honored to have been a part of something so big and important! And the event in itself was just great. One could not have picked a better place and list of activities to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, with a maritime festival of navy ships and air crafts to celebrate the war that defended our nation's rights to the seas and free trade. I think this Star Spangled 200 Sailabration gave all of its witnesses a great sense of pride and nationalism.

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