top of page
Image by Marvin Meyer


Compiled for you by:

Richard Bradley "Brad" Bonds


Look what I found! My old "Richard's Financial Aid Help Pages." It's 11 years old, so it's not surprising there are many, many, many broken links. But believe it or not, some of it is still good info! Enough to make it worthwhile. Spread the word! I cringe at my old style. Forgive me. Please take this in the spirit it was intended. Financial aid is very rough going! Maybe there's some help in here for somebody. I hope so! A lot - a lot - of work went into this back then. I was in school at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and Sara and I were basically penniless, but for the financial aid I was able to secure. And my classmates were mostly all hurting bad too. Single young mothers with children were the worst off, it seemed like. Trying to get something going for their future. I couldn't get over their perseverance.

All the way at the bottom of that page (and I put it on here too), you can still to this day buy from me on REDBUBBLE, as a few folks have done over the years, including, amazingly, quite recently! I would be pleased for you to Explore my Designs and Shop my Products, as you may wish. I put this together a very long time ago and it has simply collected dust ever since, with no attention from me whatsoever until just now. I find I still like it alright!

Notes: What about the background color? In my mind's eye, approximately the color of warm Caribbean Sea water with the sun streaming in at about 30 feet depth of water over a sandy bottom. Is the email address still good? Yes, so far as I know it forwards to Why? There's a story behind that, naturally; if you know me at all, you know there's got to be some kind of story behind it!

I departed the United States Coast Guard Cutter "Vigorous," released from 4-years active duty, on a Wednesday morning in June 1979 in Baltimore, Maryland and on Saturday morning my late wife Sara and I were married in our home in Galveston, Texas. Monday morning I obtained my Coast Guard commercial Captain's license and then I obtained my required FCC Marine Radio Operator's license. I was licensed as an Ocean Operator (Coast Guard licensed operator of vessels up to 100 tons carrying up to 6 or more passengers for hire in the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to Texas up to a hundred miles offshore). I qualified on the basis of applicable prior sea duty and examination. The Ocean Operator license doesn't exist anymore, all the licenses now are Master of various categories. Long, long ago I lost my framed original license. I wish I still had it to look at. Yes, you may properly address me as Captain. I also had a client I was pretty close to in the marine insurance industry in Houston years later, from south Louisiana, Cajun country down on the bayou, who always addressed me as "Cap'n. Richard," and I think of that with fond reminiscence. I went to work as Captain of a 65' crewboat launch in Galveston. And another boat there at the same company's docks, a utility workboat. It was what I wanted, right there at home, in Galveston, newly married, and it paid $100 a day, a welcome fair wage. We had always joked the Coast Guard paid us under 50 cents an hour, being always on the clock, on a low-wage military pay scale. I even had the freedom to take Sara out on the boat with me one time, which was a great day trip on a beautiful day! Being the Captain, I made the rules, and I decided the rules allowed it. That work lasted 10 days or so.

One, it turned out the company would make no arrangements for my relief of duty. If I ever might want a day off from working or being on call for 24/7 every hour of every day, I would have to find and bring onboard somebody my ownself, which was crazy. Two, the company complained that I would not pump my bilges at night in Galveston Bay. That was crazy. Intentionally pumping oily bilge waste water into the bay would have subjected me, if caught, to federal water pollution penalties of up to a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years imprisonment. Plus, I personally strongly objected to fouling the waters with oil pollution. In fact, years later, I would wind up working for the Texas General Land Office Oil Spill Division as a Compliance Officer and Response Officer (Environmental Quality Specialist Ⅳ). A number of us ex-Coasties ended up working there. Third, one time coming back in from 65 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico at night in rough weather on a trip taking deck cargo out and bringing passengers back in from a big oil tanker, the boat lost electrical power, so I had no effective radio nor electronic navigation, and I had to steer with the engines, with ahead and back thrust alternately on opposing port and starboard engines, since I lost the helm with no power and thus had no rudders. I navigated by dead reckoning and got across the bar at the entrance to the Galveston Ship Channel, where the seas were heaped up pretty good, and I made it to the dock and got tied up without incident, thankfully, and sat on the curb and waited with my foreign passengers until a U.S. Immigrations officer showed up to handle them, about 1:00 or 2:00 in the a.m., since they were not scheduled and were not cleared. All that was OK. What was not OK, what was the last straw, was the company complained I should have stuck my arm into the generator and tried to turn the shaft by hand to free it up and see if that would allow restarting it. I would not remotely consider sticking my arm in the dark bouncing all over the place in a slippery engine space into a piece of dangerous rotating machinery and I thought these people I am working for are crazy. They were three ways crazy to me. So I quit. I should've told them I could've just stayed my butt out there, making bare steerageway, called the Coast Guard on the battery-powered radio and declared an in extremis situation, with failed steering gear in a seaway with passengers onboard, and waited for Search and Rescue. See how they would've liked that. I did miss my deckhands. They alternated, one on the boat while the other was on days off. One was from West Texas and he had a lot of tattoos and big scarred knuckles from getting all drunked up and fighting all the time. Looked and acted like what you would imagine an offshore oilfield deckhand to be. The other was a slight young man from Mexico, undocumented I believe, illegal they used to call it (another point against the company), who stayed onboard sleeping on a quarter berth in the back of the pilot house with a big Colt 1911 .45 caliber pistol under his pillow. They were both good workers and I liked them. At the same time, I applied and was selected to attend the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Game Warden Academy, but I decided to go back to school instead, at Texas A&M University at Galveston, on Pelican Island, being the maritime college of Texas. Also, transferring to active Coast Guard Reserve duty helped give me continuity and direction, which was important to my family and me at that time.


Richard Bradley "Brad" Bonds

bottom of page