Updated: Saturday, 03 Nov 2012, 4:39 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 31 Oct 2012, 11:01 PM EDT
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY.com) - Only WAVY.com joined the Coast Guard on board an H-60 Jayhawk to head up the east coast. The normally scenic New Jersey shore has been replaced with an apocalyptic look.
Coast Guard Station Atlantic City was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy.
"A lot better than it was yesterday," said Vice Admiral Rob Parker as he flew overhead.
Admiral Parker has a massive undertaking ahead. His job is to get all Coast Guard stations fully restored to life.
"I've never seen that kind of damage up in this region. I think we have to reach back into probably the 60s to see something of that magnitude over that broad of a scale. Multiple thoughts, first, hearts go out to all of those people whose lives have been turned upside down or who have lost loved ones. Our folks who are in there as we flew over the stations, I don' t know if you noticed it, I smiled a little bit because every time we flew over the station the guys all come out. They're there. They're cleaning the place up. They're getting it working. The flag is back on the pole. So, they're there trying to do the best they can. We have some severely impacted places where the housing we just flew over at Sandyhook, the housing is completely flooded, so they've got some real challenges ahead, but you saw they're already pushing the docks back into place, trying to get a place so they can operate and provide services for their fellow citizens."
WAVY.com saw houses in New Jersey reduced to rubble. Sand from the beach is now smothering neighborhoods.
The massive amount of damage WAVY.com saw in New Jersey continues into New York where for yet another day the port remains closed. Only ferry boats are allowed through. Meanwhile, 80 ships wait outside New York City for the port to reopen.
The Coast Guard says the United States loses $136-million every day the port is closed.
"What's really amazing is how many things come to the United States and what leaves here and manufacturing pieces that are just in time that are in containers. 95% of our goods come to the United States by weight and by sea. Over 60% just by value, so just about everything you think of that you can use that you see in a store somewhere is probably coming through a seaport somewhere at sometime, and a lot of that is probably coming through this port, so we're really keen to get this open as soon as we can," said Admiral Parker.
For New Yorkers, reality is a bit difficult to take in lately. Many of their roads are crumbled and their houses are either damaged or destroyed. Water is in neighborhoods that are usually dry.
Meanwhile, the men and women charged with keeping you safe are operating in darkness at their Staten Island Facility. They're working to figure out how to re-open the port of New York with their laptops running on generators.
"Without the power there's really some serious challenges here in New York."
Admiral Parker says many questions need answered before the port can fully operate.
"Is the channel obstructed, is the navigation in place, is there debris, what's the priority, are there places to handle it?"
While members of the Coast Guard deal with damage Sandy caused in their own lives, they work tirelessly to make sure our lives can get back to normal soon.
"We appreciate the support of everybody and I just want to say how proud I am of all the Coast Guard men and women who are doing the mission for us," said Admiral Parker.
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