NEW ORLEANS – Summerdale, Ala., native and Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Heath Ard, a Reservist with the Coast Guard Gulf Strike Team in Mobile, Ala., recently returned from an extended tour of duty for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response.
Ard was recalled to active duty October 2012 and remained on active status for the 12 months following his report date. This was his second deployment to the Deepwater response.
During his deployment, Ard was assigned to Gulf Shores, Ala., where he served as a Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team member.
SCAT teams perform a crucial role in environmental crisis response. Teams collect data on shoreline oiling conditions, preparing field maps and forms detailing the areas surveyed and making specific cleanup recommendations.
“It was very fulfilling to be a part of this historic response,” said Ard. “There were some long days working in 90-plus degree weather in remote locations, but the sense of pride I got from serving my country - along with the teamwork, camaraderie, and friendships I made down here - made this deployment worthwhile.”
The Gulf Strike Team is one of three special teams that make up the National Strike Force. It is a vital national asset comprised of a unique, highly trained cadre of Coast Guard professionals who maintain and rapidly deploy with specialized equipment and incident management skills any time to any place or hazard.
Ard received a Coast Guard Letter of Commendation for his work on the response.