USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB-30)
“Images of Modern America”

June 10, 2006, marked the beginning of a new era. In a one-of-a-kind ceremony, the original U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw was decommissioned, followed by the commissioning of the new Great Lakes icebreaker that carries the same name. The old cutter’s legacy would be carried through to the new ship’s multi-mission capabilities of ice-breaking, buoy-tending, search and rescue, oil-spill response, and maritime homeland security. The new Mackinaw’s sophisticated propulsion package, computer-based navigation and steering, and state-of-the-art dynamic positioning system bring new technology to its mission as “Guardian of the Great Lakes.”

Mike Fornes has covered the original ship and its successor for more than 25 years for several media outlets in northern Michigan, including radio and television stations and the Cheboygan Daily Tribune. He has been on board for ice-breaking missions and aids-to-navigation operations and has witnessed the crew’s search-and-rescue response. The Mackinaw’s public-affairs roles as the “Christmas Tree Ship” and escort for Mackinac Island yacht races have been conducted on his watch as a reporter. Fornes has combined the best of his own photographs with those from U.S. Coast Guard files and private collections in this stunning look at the ship.

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USCGC Mackinaw WLBB 30: “Images of Modern America”

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