From the field: A new station for Marquette

>Today’s post is from Capt. Mark Huebschman, Commander of Sector Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. He writes about the new Coast Guard Station, which was dedicated in a ceremony in Marquette, Mich., Aug. 13. The crew occupied it a week later, and are currently enjoying their new facilities on the southern shores of Lake Superior. Here’s Capt. Huebschman’s story:

“On Thursday, August 20th 2009, the U. S. Coast Guard put into service their newest multi-mission station in Marquette, Michigan.

(Right: Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, U.S. Representative Bart Stupak, Michigan’s 1st Congressional District and Chief Petty Officer Bradley Adams, Officer in Charge, Station Marquette, cut the ribbon officially opening the new building during a ceremony celebrating the dedication of Coast Guard Station Marquette’s new facility, Thurs., August 13, 2009. The new facility is one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the Department of Homeland Security. U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener)

A well-attended dedication ceremony brought to life a new 12,500 square foot station building and boathouse that replaces the old station, which was constructed in 1891 for the Coast Guard’s predecessor, the U. S. Lifesaving Service. The event was presided over by Rear Admiral Peter Neffenger, the Ninth District Commander, and the keynote speaker for the ceremony was Congressman Bart Stupak from Michigan’s First Congressional District.

(Left: Rear Adm. Peter V. Neffenger, Commander, Ninth Coast Guard District, accepts an American Flag that was flown over the Capitol Building from U.S. Representative Bart Stupak, Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, during a ceremony celebrating the dedication of Coast Guard Station Marquette’s new facility, Thurs., August 13, 2009. U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener)

The $6 million construction project was administered by the Coast Guard’s Facilities Design and Construction Center Atlantic utilizing using a Design/Build procurement. The prime contractor for the project was Viteri Construction Management of Newport News, Virginia; the designer was Waller, Todd, and Sadler from Virginia Beach, Virginia; and the site contractor was Premeau Construction of Marquette, Michigan.

The facility was designed to U. S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program standards. Some of the building’s environmentally-friendly features include a geothermal heating and cooling system, controllable lighting and thermal systems, innovative wastewater technologies, reduced water usage plumbing, and water efficient landscaping. Final LEED certification of the building is pending.


(Right: Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Marquette raise an American Flag that was flown over the Capitol Building and presented by U.S. Representative Bart Stupak, Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, during a ceremony celebrating the dedication of Coast Guard Station Marquette’s new facility, Thurs., August 13, 2009. U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener)

The new Station building was named in honor of Captain Henry J. Cleary, who was the original Keeper of the Marquette Lifesaving Station when it was put into service in 1891. He served 25 of his 37 years of service at Station Marquette, and died at the station April 10th, 1916. Captain Cleary was a legend of the Lifesaving Service through his efforts as both an innovator and a showman, in addition to his success as a lifesaver.

Known as the “Showman of the Service,” Captain Cleary led many Life-Saving Service crews, preparing them for national expositions including numerous Worlds Fairs. Captain Cleary was a friend to Presidents, National Leaders and his crew, but none more so than to the mariners he swore to protect. Captain Cleary’s courage and tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds were legendary. No surf was too high or danger too great to deter him from his duty. The September 1895 rescue of the crew of the wrecked CHARLES J. KERSHAW by Cleary and his Marquette surfmen was one of the most spectacular in Lake Superior history.

Always an innovator; Captain Cleary and his crew worked with Marquette’s Lakeshore Engine Works to produce the first motorized lifeboat in 1899, leading the way to motorizing the Service’s entire fleet.

Today’s crews of Coast Guard Station Marquette proudly follow in the footsteps of Captain Cleary and their predecessors in both the Lifesaving Service and the Coast Guard. They continue to provide the same outstanding level of service to the maritime community of Lake Superior. The new Station building will only enhance that level of service by providing improved training and maintenance facilities, as well as improved crew morale through a beautiful, environmentally friendly new station building to call home.

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