His experience as the real-life Captain of the Coast Guard ship that performed two dramatic rescues during the Perfect Storm amount to only 100 hours of a 30-year career of assessing risks, making decisions and inspiring teamwork.
Captain Larry Brudnicki retired from the Coast Guard in March 2002 after 30 years of active duty. He reported to his last assignment as the Chief of Operations, 11th Coast Guard District, Alameda, CA in August 1997 where he supervised more than 15,000 Search & Rescue cases, which saved 1,600 lives and property valued at $135 million. He also supervised the search for survivors of the Alaska Air Flight #261 tragedy. He had tactical control of ships and aircraft that seized more than 150 tons of cocaine, including the ten largest cocaine seizures in the year 2000 and again in 2001. He also had tactical control of the ships and aircraft that interdicted 2,800 illegal migrants from the People's Republic of China, Ecuador and Mexico.
Captain Larry Brudnicki graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1972, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. His first assignment was on board the USCGC MADRONA (WLB-302), Portsmouth, VA where he served as Communications Officer and then as Operations Officer. At the age of 23, he was assigned as Commanding Officer of the USCGC CAPE CURRENT (WPB-95307), Savannah, GA from 1973 to 1975. During that period, under the direction of Coast Guard Group Charleston, CAPE CURRENT was one of the pioneers that helped the Coast Guard begin a long and proud history in counter drug operations.
He attended Wesleyan University where he earned a Master's Degree in Physical Science to prepare him for an assignment as a Physics Instructor at the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT. While assigned to the Academy he also served as a Gymnastics Coach, Yacht Squadron Coach and a member of the Faculty Senate. In his spare time, he earned a Master's Degree in Physics from the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. During a temporary assignment to the Coast Guard Research & Development Center (R&DC), Groton, CT, he researched and then wrote the R&DC report on using Electronic Systems, instead of sextants, to position buoys.
larry Brudnicki served as the Executive Officer of the USCGC MARIPOSA (WLB-397), Detroit, MI, from June 1980 until August 1982 and participated in the 9th Coast Guard District's early efforts to have the Buoy Tenders rehabilitate the Light Houses that were no longer manned.
He was then assigned as the Chief, Minor Aids to Navigation Section, Ocean Engineering Division at Coast Guard HQ, Washington, DC. He led the team of project engineers that gained the Coast Guard the reputation for being the world leader among the 200 member countries of the International Association of Lighthouse Authorities for using Solar Panels to power aids to navigation in the marine environment. His team converted almost 90% of all aids to navigation to solar power and was recognized by the Department of Energy for being the only federal agency that was successful in that type of endeavor. As a result of this success, he was invited to serve as a consultant to the Panama Canal Commission to help them begin converting their aids to navigation to solar power.
As the Engineer Officer of the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee from 1984 to 1985 for the Presidential Inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Captain Brudnicki planned, coordinated and executed all inaugural activities that required engineering support. He then served as the Commanding Officer of the USCGC BRAMBLE (WLB-392), Port Huron, MI, from July 1985 until July 1988. BRAMBLE produced the first two Waterways Management Analysis Studies in the Coast Guard, and while deployed from the Great Lakes to the Caribbean, had 3 drug seizures and assisted with another 3 drug seizures — netting 100,000 pounds of marijuana.
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