As some of you know, I’m packing up to do a little move. While packing, I discovered some of my writings that I did when I was in college back in 1990 to 1993. Between highschool and college, I served 4 years in the US Coast Guard. This was taken from some of the experiences during that time of service. It was written with a specific format of telling “the stages involved with something” with the stages broken into paragraphs as well as an intro and conclusion paragraph. I enjoyed the description part of this piece so I figured I’d share it and y’all can just put up with the formalities associated with meeting the assignment requirements. Enjoy!
The SAR case
The first thing my brain did was throw me out of bed. I jumped into my waiting clothes, slid my feet into the open mouths of my boat shoes, and grabbed my worn hat from the bed post. As I flung the door open, I was met by the blank stare of the hall wall. Turning left, I began the long journey down to the boat dock. As I ran down the hall, the ceiling towered over me, the search and rescue (SAR) alarm throbbed in my ears, and the walls seemed to pull at me with every step I took. My brain pushed me on, “Faster, faster!” I met the last obstacle the hall had to offer and slammed myself into it. Forcing the door open, I was confronted by a cold wall of air, but that didn’t stop me. Like metal attracted to a magnet, I was drawn to the boat, step by step. The loud speaker popped and crackled and a commanding male voice boomed, “One person in water…male…Breezy Point.” My brain absorbed the information. By this time, I had reached the dock. I slowed, turned left, and made my final descent down the dock to where the boat was moored. This scenario was the usual lead-in for the three stages of a successful Coast Guard “man in the water” SAR case. These stages are getting underway, scanning the water, and aiding the recovered person.
The first of these stages, getting underway, not only included starting the boat, but getting to the scene of the accident. As I reached my boat, I jumped on board and helped the rest of the crew get the boat started. We disconnected all electrical power that attached the boat to the dock, opened the sea suction valves which allowed water to cool the engines, turned on the proper electrical breakers (nine, ten, and fifteen), and started the boat. Leaving the security of the dock, we established radio communications with our base and headed in the general direction of the distressed man. Receiving more detailed directions on the man’s location, we plotted a direct course to his last known position and headed there at top speed. Later on, we checked our Loran C, an electronic position indicator, and determined that we were in the correct location. Our position confirmed, stage one ended.
Once on scene, we immediately began searching the water for any sign of the man. This was the second stage of the search and rescue mission. Not seeing or hearing anything, we began a predetermined search pattern. Creeping along the search pattern, we strained our eyes under the darkness of the moonless night. Search lights roamed back and forth grasping for any clue. Suddenly a crewman yelled out, “I saw something!” We cautiously made our way towards the sighting under the crewman’s direction. Sure enough, we had found the man in the water and, moments later, helped him into our boat. Stage two ended as the man stepped on board.
Notifying the base of our find, we plotted a new course; headed for the dock; and started stage three, rendering aid to the victim. We hurried the shivering, dripping man into the heated cabin. After asking him a few routine questions, we handed him a dry pair of coveralls. He was then instructed to peel off his wet clothes and to put on the coveralls. After he dressed, we helped him to the cushion-covered seat. We then eased his stress by laying him down, giving him a soft, fluffy pillow, and wrapping him in warm blankets. We radioed the base, relaying medical information concerning the man and requesting to have an ambulance meet us at the dock. The third stage was now coming to a close. Arriving at the doc, the crew moored the boat and turned off the engines. We carefully delivered the water logged man into the caring hands of the ambulance crew.
Sensing our duty to rescue the man was complete, and happy with the results, we headed back to the boat to prepare it for the next SAR case. On our stroll to the boat we “yakked” with the night watchman, telling him about our SAR case. We told him how we had followed the three main stages for a “man in the water” SAR case. The crew also told him that because we had followed these three stages, getting underway; searching the water; and aiding the recovered person, we had successfully completed our case. By this time the boat was ready, so we turned it over to the night watchman, bid him good night, and headed for bed.
Stephen Kellogg – 1992