Coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill by Noelle Leavitt and Jenn LeBlanc

Coast Guards from Colorado work the oil slick

By Noelle Leavitt

Colorado Coast Guardsmen Mike Svoboda and Matt Wietbrock

Gulfport, MS — Two young Coast Guards from Colorado who are based in Gulfport, have a new whirlwind of experience under their belts from the oil spill.

Mike Svoboda, 20, from Parker, CO, cruises the oily gulf each day to document where the slick is at any given time.

“I’ve actually seen oil out toward the Barrier Islands, which are about six miles off shore. It’s little globs maybe about a couple inches in diameter, and it floats just beneath the water surface, and you can barely see it. And then when we went to Ship Island, which is one of the Barrier Islands, it’s actually all over the beaches.”

It’s the kind of oil nobody wants to touch.

“Sand sticks to it, everything sticks to it,” he said. “I don’t recommend picking it up. It sticks to your fingers real bad. It’s hard to get off.”

Coast Guard Matt Wietbrock, 23, from Westminster, CO has a completely different set of duties.

He answers the phones each day, filtering calls from civilians across the country who have ideas on how to stop the oil leak that’s now in its’ 80th day of gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

“The phones are ringing constantly,” Wietbrock said. “Everyday someone has a new idea of how they can help stop the oil, and some of the people that call in have pretty good ideas, and some of the ideas are just crazy.”

Both men love to snowboard, and daydream of hitting the Colorado ski slopes in the winter.

Svoboda heads home to Colorado on July 9 for a much needed two week vacation.


Coast guardsman Svoboda stands July 7, 2010 on the dock at the Coast guards newest facility in Gulfport, Mississipi.


Coast guardsman Wietbrock stands July 7, 2010 on the dock at the Coast guards newest facility in Gulfport, Mississipi.


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