Meet The Crew Of Tiger Two
In a time when many people are
wanting to do more in their daily lives to serve their communities
and their country, the Coast Guard Auxiliary is a way for them to
do just that.
He is known as Tiger Two to Coast Guard radio Watchstanders
serving Florida's coastline down to Key West. Mel Marx of Flotilla
51, District 7 owns and flies a twin-engine Cessna 310. In normal
times, Marx could be found checking the southeast coast for
migrants and drug runners, or working on search-and-rescue missions
with the active-duty Coast Guard, flying perhaps several hundred
miles in a typical week. All that changed with the arrival of
hurricane Katrina. In the week after Katrina came ashore, Tiger Two
flew six thousand miles.
By September 21, a force of some 3,600 Coast Guard personnel had
rescued or evacuated 33,544 people, and the work continues. The
Coast Guard normally saves around 5,500 lives a year.
Transportation within the Hurricane zone became most important
early on. Medicines, vaccines, and first-aid supplies had to be
distributed, and many responders had special requests. Also,
trained personnel of the many services responding to the disaster
had to be transported from Texas and Florida to various locations
in the New Orleans and Mobile areas. Tiger Two's sturdy, versatile
Cessna could take off and land on a stretch of road, if need
Marx, who lives in West Palm Beach, teamed up with another
pilot, Forest "Woody" Bahr, of Flotilla 69. Bahr, the Assistant Air
Auxiliary Coordinator in Miami, Florida, would serve as co-pilot.
"Don't know how soon we'll be back," Marx said as he kissed his
wife Harriet goodbye. He and Bahr then departed on their errand of
About four hours after leaving Opa Locka CG Air Station in
Florida, they arrived at CG Air Station Mobile in Alabama. This air
station became their home base for the rest of the week. At this
time, their ten-hour days began. Day after day, hour after hour,
sitting cramped in the airplane, the tedium of flying ignored, the
two Auxiliarists flew mission after mission. They found sleep, even
on an air mattress, to be most welcome each night.
Transporting helicopter pilots to Naval Air Station New Orleans
for flight duty, FEMA personnel to Gulfport, Mississippi, and
medicine to Corpus Christi or Alexandria were some of the missions
Marx and Bahr carried out within the 500-mile radius area of
responsibility (AOR). Mel Marx said, "The volunteers we carried
were necessary civilian workers and medical personnel -- all worker
When asked about his experiences, Marx immediately responded, " It
was very gratifying be able to participate and contribute to help
salvage something from the horrors we witnessed firsthand that you
folks at home saw on television."