Skip Navigation


Security Levels




 Pascagoula, MS

DECISIVE in the Spotlight



News Release:

Coast Guard crew serves different mission at Our Daily Bread in Pascagoula:

CG Crew serves mission at Pascagoula Daily Bread

While the U.S. Coast Guard cutter, Decisive, is homeported in Pascagoula, some of its crew members were donating their free time at Our Daily Bread on Thursday. From left, Lt. Mario Gil, in charge of the group's volunteer efforts, helps serve up food along with shipmates Dereck Bradshaw, Matthew Pratersch, Katlin Godden and Dion Williams. On the far end are Sean Scully and Randall Lawrence. (The Mississippi Press/Beverly Tuskan).


Image Randall pouring Juice

Pouring juice into tall cups is Randall Lawrence of Mobile, while his shipmate, Sean Scully from Hawaii puts out slices of Mardi Gras king cake. (The Mississippi Press/Beverly Tuskan)


Image Noah Watson, of California, 
	focuses on filling a dish

Noah Watson, of San Francisco, California, focuses on filling a dish. Before volunteering on Thursday, Watson was named "Sailor of the Quarter" for boarding boats during a patrol's law enforcement efforts. "I was on every one of them," Watson said. "I appreciate it because it gives me a parking space and 72 hours off." Working with Watson is Virginia Broadus, a volunteer at Our Daily Bread. (The Mississippi Press/Beverly Tuskan)

Coast Guard crew serves different mission at Our Daily Bread in Pascagoula Beverly Tuskan -- The Mississippi Press

PASCAGOULA, Mississippi -- Although crew members of the Pascagoula-based U.S. Coast Guard cutter Decisive were not fighting drug smugglers on Thursday, they were on another important mission.

Ten of the Decisive's 72 shipmates volunteered to serve the hungry and needy during the lunch hour at Our Daily Bread in Pascagoula.

Several were manning the buffet line, dishing up the main entrée.

Sean Scully from Hawaii was putting out slices of Mardi Gras king cake, while Randall Lawrence of Mobile was filling up tall cups with juice.

"I just like to serve the community that I'm currently serving in and living in, and I do what I can for the less fortunate," Lawrence said.

Lt. Mario Gil from Miami, Florida, was leading the group's volunteer efforts.

"We're usually in port for two months and every time we're in port, we come out at least once to serve here," Gil said.

"A lot of the crew members are from this area, from Pascagoula, or Mobile, or somewhere in Mississippi. They are really gracious to come out and donate their time to serve."

Shipmates not volunteering Thursday, he said, "are back at the ship working and making preps for our next patrol."

The relationship between Our Daily Bread and the Decisive began once the cutter's commanding officer, Cmdr. Teri L. Jordan, and crew wanted to donate food that otherwise was being discarded.

"We realized we were throwing out a lot of our food," Gil said. "So we searched around. We found Our Daily Bread and started donating food whenever we're in port," Gil said, noting it is "definitely a good cause."

Mary Meldren, the soup kitchen's director/coordinator and head cook, is delighted that the crew comes to help.

"They donate regularly. This is a good thing about them," she said. "When they're in port, whatever food they have and can't finish, they call us and we go pick it up. They brought us some steaks and homemade spaghetti, and yesterday, they brought us some pork tenderloins. This is like an every-other-day basis. These guys think about the homeless."

Most importantly, Meldren wants those who frequent the soup kitchen to realize the importance of the military.

"I think it's a blessing to have them here," she said. "I want to make the people in here realize that they are not only blessed by Jesus Christ to be waking up, these men, everyday, are protecting our country, us, me, you," Meldren said. "These are some really good men, with good hearts."

Meldren said Our Daily Bread feeds up to 200 people a day and delivers 580 meals a day, noting the number of deliveries change based on new applications.

Decisive is scheduled to moor at the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile for six days beginning Feb. 17, the Friday before Mardi Gras.

The cutter will leave the Pascagoula port at the end of February, serving in the Caribbean for 60 days.

Image Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrick Dyess

PASCAGOULA, Miss. – Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrick Dyess, a crewmember of the Coast Guard Cutter Decisive, poses for a photo near the medium endurance cutter at its homeport, Jan. 20, 2012. Dyess assisted with the first aid of a fellow crewmember on Jan. 10, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Andrea Psimer.

Coast Guard cutter Decisive back home after saving lives at sea

Cutter Boat returns home after rescue

Coast Guard Cutter Decisive returns from deployment

Reflections on Katrina – MK1 Young and ME2 Watson
Monday, August 30, 2010
Written by: LTJG Stephanie Young

(Photo by Justin Nobel/Audubon Magazine)

Image Sun Set Image Ships Deep Water Horizon Image Flag and Ship in distance Image Night Falls

The sun sets over the Development Driller II, which is working on the secondary relief well. The rig is one of dozens of vessels stationed at the Deepwater Horizon spill site.

At times, there have been more than 50 vessels milling about the Deepwater Horizon spill site. They study, supply, skim, monitor, disperse and collect.

The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive looks after the safety of all the other vessels at the spill site. The ship has a crew of 75 and is typically stationed in the southern Gulf and Caribbean, tracking illegal fishermen and drug runners. Night falls at the Deepwater Horizon spill site and the lights of vessels begin to go on. Some Coast Guard officers refer to the site as The City.

A boatcrew interdicts a group of undocumented migrants at sea 09 23, 2011.
MIAMI -- A boatcrew from the Coast Guard Cutter Decisive interdicts a group of undocumented migrants at sea Sept. 23, 2011. The cutter Decisive is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter homeported in Pascagoula, Miss. U.S. Coast Guard photo.
Welcome home: Coast Guard cutter Decisive crew returns from life-saving mission

SINGING RIVER ISLAND -- A U.S. Coast Guard vessel with a decades-long history of fighting drug smuggling and illegal immigration returned to its homeport Monday from a mission that, this time out, involved saving lives.

The cutter Decisive had been on a 31-day deployment between the Florida Keys and Cuba, where its crew assisted in interdicting more than 100 illegal Cuban immigrants.

About two weeks ago, the crew was directly responsible for saving the lives of 10 people found adrift on a makeshift boat.

"They call them 'chugs,'" Chief Petty Ofc. Aaron Russell of Ocean Springs said of the handmade vessels. They are fashioned from materials such as Styrofoam, plastic tarps and plywood and have motors -- anything from old outboard motors to lawn mower engines -- strapped to the back.

That makes then unseaworthy and dangerous.

The people who were rescued were in such a vessel. By the time Decisive found them -- three days after being spotted by another vessel -- they were without food and water and the interior was several inches deep in rising water, Russell said.

"They were treated really well on board (the Decisive)," Russell said, given food, water and medical treatment.

After being picked up and treated, he said, refugees are either extradited back to Cuba or brought to the States where they may apply for asylum.

Decisive has received more than 2,500 illegal immigrants from Haiti or Cuba in her lifetime.

Russell was among some 75 crewmembers who reunited with loved ones Monday.

Russell's family -- wife, Kathleen, and their two little girls Zoe and Mabel -- got to the dock early so they could welcome him home.

Family members stood and sat up and down the dock, some bearing signs such as a little girl dressed in a pink tutu holding a sign that said, "I'm Daddy's little princess and he's my hero."

Russell has been in the Coast Guard 15 years, and said missions range anywhere from one to six months.

Decisive, a medium-endurance cutter, can stay out up to 60 days, but typically it's about 30, he said.

Decisive deploys 185-210 days a year and is responsible for maritime law enforcement, Homeland Security and search-and-rescue missions in the Gulf of Mexico, Straits of Florida and Caribbean Sea.

Earlier this year it was involved in oil spill recovery operations that included skimming and communications.

Russell said he plans to go back out on the Decisive's next mission. Typically, he says, there will be anywhere from one to three months between deployments.

He and Kathleen said they didn't have anything special planned for this particular homecoming, though Russell said he was looking forward to being home in his own bed.

"He's got some yard work to do tomorrow," Kathleen joked.

© 2011 All rights reserved.

Coast Guard cutter Decisive back home after saving lives at sea

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Coast Guard Cutter Decisive returned home to Pascagoula Monday afternoon following a 31 day deployment patrolling the Straits of Florida. The deployment saved countless lives. Family members and friends were on hand to greet the ship and their heroes back home.

Docking the vessel takes time, as precise procedures have to be followed.  Coast Guard members anxiously wait high above the dock, blowing kisses to love ones on dry land.  Then it's time for the real thing. 

Despite this happy day, the mission of the Decisive was deadly serious: saving the lives of Cubans trying to come to America by sea, in anything that might float.

Captain Teri Jordan is the Decisive's commanding officer.  

"In the middle of the night, one of my lookouts saw a light in the distance," Jordan recalled. "We went over there to check it out and it was ten Cubans. They were out of food, they were out of water, their vessel was sinking, and we were able to save their lives." 

Once they were plucked from the angry waters, the Cubans had to be cared for. Petty Officer 2nd class Sean Scully was in charge of that part of the operation. 

"We were making sure they don't have life threatening, as far as massive hemorrhaging or any kind of hypothermia or hyperthermia or anything," Scully said. "But as far as their general nourishment, we take pretty good care of them aboard the cutter Decisive. We give them good food, especially the women and children."

Members of the crew know they did something special on this mission.  One of them is Lt. Amy Lockwood. 

"It's life affirming, because you look out there and you see the condition that these folks are in and realize how desperate they are to try and leave their country and try to come to the United States. So, in a way, it's heartbreaking, and it makes you realize how lucky you are," Lockwood said.

Despite the fact that these deployments out of station Pascagoula are relatively routine, these ships are gone about half the year. Family members who greet them at their welcome home ceremonies say they wouldn't miss it for the world.

Patty Davis' husband is serving aboard the Decisive.

"It's just a rush. It's a joy, a love that you have for your Coast Guard husband, or spouse, or whoever it is in the military."

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.


PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - The Coast Guard cutter Decisive heads home to Pascagoula after a month long mission to the Florida Straits, where the crew rescued 10 Cubans whose overloaded boat was taking on water.

The Cubans were among 101 intercepted while trying to reach the United States by boat during the month that the Decisive worked off of Florida. The cutter was scheduled to return to Pascagoula on Monday.

The Coast Guard says the Decisive's crew searched for three days after being told that a vessel in its area was overloaded and unseaworthy. Then, just before midnight on the third day, a crew member spotted a faint light.

The 10 Cubans were without food and water. Crew members gave them both, and basic medical attention after taking them on board.

Coast Guard crew headed home to Pascagoula

WLOX Biloxi

Oil spill update from the field: Welcome to the Crude Age

By Justin Nobel Audubon Magazine

Deepwater Horizon spill site, 50 miles off the coast of Louisiana, August 6 An orange helicopter flies me to a Coast Guard cutter where I board a speedboat meant for chasing down drug runners and plow through warm salty waves, heading for ground zero of the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history. There are ships with superstructures on their bows meant to land helicopters, ships with spools the size of suburban homes on their decks and floating fortress-like platforms called mobile offshore drilling units; two are drilling relief wells and one has just capped the Deepwater well with mud and cement. Dozens of smaller vessels mill about the behemoths, ferrying food, parts and fuel. The odd assembly resembles an outpost for an outcast race of machines, some Coast Guard officers call it The City. An orange sun sinks into the sea, leaving the sky red. Lights on the spill site vessels begin to go on and soon the entire horizon is twinkling.

I remember one high school social studies teacher asked the good question: What will the people of the future call the era in which we live now? There were many suggestions, the Age of War, the American Age Digital Age, but after some discussion we stuck with the . Looking back a decade and some later, I think we had the theme right but the wording wrong. Oil is incredible, an energy-packed liquid that can be passed through pipes or put in tanks and shipped across the globe. Harnessing it has allowed the modern world to happen, and it is still the best way to run that world. I believe that we will continue to use oil, and when we run out we will synthesize it in a way that is cleaner and does not involve messy extraction. The days of wasting energy and lives to draw oil from the crevasses of the earth will seem archaic. This can be the Oil Age because oil will remain, this is merely a time when we use a form of oil that in the future will seem filthy and cumbersome. This is the Crude Age Night is falling fast and from the deck of the cutter the lights of The City shimmer on the waves, a squiggly reflection of the shapes they represent. A thin seam of orange still hovers on the horizon, and the sky above is a spectrum; yellow, green like a frog’s skin, azure, aubergine, black. One by one at least it seems to me to happen this way the stars come out.

News Links

DECISIVE crew finds time to unwind
From Honor Guard to oil spill
The DECISIVE’S mission
CDR Terri Jordan
Behind the Scenes with Coast Guard Cutter Decisive Crew

Deepwater Horizon Response
CNN reports news 4 Aug 2010 USCGC DECISIVE
NBC news report from the USCGC Decisive!
Oil Spill Work On Hold

Chopper Flight to the Spill Site


Coast Guard Takes Deepwater Mission Personally

ABOARD THE USCGC DECISIVE - There are so many huge boats, towers, and other vessels above the wreck of the Deepwater Horizon that it looks like the downtown of a small city has sprung up out of the water of the Gulf of Mexico. more

Mississippi News Press Article
Kaija Wilkinson

Image LCDR Crigler

Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Crigler, second in command of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter DECISIVE, at the change of command ceremony for the ship on Singing River Island in Pascagoula. The 210-foot vessel, which has a crew of 75, is about to embark on a new mission performing skimming and other oil-spill response operations in the Gulf. It has a long history of fighting drug smuggling and illegal immigration.

PASCAGOULA -- A U.S. Coast Guard cutter with a more than 40-year history of fighting drug smuggling and illegal immigration, among other key functions, came under new leadership Friday as she prepares to embark on a new oil-spill response mission.

Cmdr. Teri Jordan relieved Capt. Eric Giese during a military change of command ceremony that drew about 60 people to Singing River Island. Giese is being transferred to Key West, Fla., where he will serve as a liaison officer for Unified Command in Mobile.

DECISIVE is set to take over public affairs and skimming duties from RESOLUTE in about two weeks, according to Lt. Cmdr. Phillip Crigler, second in command of the ship.

"We'll basically be the eyes and ears for communication for ICP Mobile," Crigler said. "We're excited because a lot of us are local and care about what's going on." Crigler grew up in Mobile. Jordan is a 1991 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a native of North Carolina. Her most recent assignment was as executive officer of the 270-foot endurance cutter TAMPA, homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

DECISIVE has been homeported in Pascagoula since October 1998. One of the highlights since then was the seizure of 10,000 pounds of cocaine, one of the largest in Coast Guard history.

The 210-foot DECISIVE has a crew of 75. It was commissioned at the Coast Guard Yard in August, 1968, and got its start helping mariners in distress from a New Castle, New Hampshire, homeport.

DECISIVE was transferred to St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1982, and seized more than 125 tons of cocaine and marijuana over the next 14 years. In one seizure, DECISIVE intercepted a Colombian fishing vessel that ignored orders, and ended up firing more than 300 rounds into the engine to disable it. Onboard, DECISIVE'S crew discovered more than 100 bales of marijuana, with a street value of $3.1 million.

DECISIVE also played a key role in stemming illegal immigration, having received over 2,500 illegal migrants from Haiti and Cuba in her lifetime.

The vessel also assumed tactical command of Mississippi Coastal Recovery Base Gulfport in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, coordinating Coast Guard response, recovery and search operations throughout the region.

In 2007, DECISIVE underwent a renovation that is expected to allow her to continue to operate for another 15 to 20 years.

 Image CG Red Bar

For more information, questions or comments,
please e-mail the
Or call our Public Affairs Officer at (228)769-5650

Download Plug-Ins: Some of the links on this page require a plug-in to view them. Links to the plug-ins are available below.
Click Here to Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF) Click Here to Download MS Word viewer MS Word
Last Modified 4/30/2015