USCG Aviation Patch United States Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer EB
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USCG Aviation Patch United States Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer EB

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USCG Aviation Patch United States Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer SAR 1990s Embroidered on twill merrowed edge 105mm four and one eighth inches diameter.

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US Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Program was established at the US Navy Rescue Swimmer School at NAS Pensacola FL with training of USCG Aviation Survivalman ratings commencing on 10 September 1984 following the Marine Electric incident in 1983 where a USCG HH 3F helicopter over survivors who had abandoned ship during a severe storm was unable to rescue any as without dedicated CG rescue personnel at water level survivors were not able to climb into the rescue basket themselves. The Coast Guard crew called for support and a US Navy H 3 helicopter with rescue swimmer was dispatched but only three of the thirty four crew were rescued alive.

Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers provide Rotary Wing stations with the capability of deploying a properly trained and conditioned aircrew members to assist persons in distress in heavy seas. Coast Guard RS training at Rescue Swimmer School excluded scuba parachute tree extraction mountain rescue and combat SAR.

The Coast Guard allocated the first RSs to Elizabeth City NC establishing the Rescue Swimmer Standardization Team with the Rescue Swimmers at Elizabeth City becoming operational on 5 March 1985 followed by San Francisco becoming operational on 1 November 1985. On 1 January 1986 initial training was established at Elizabeth City NC where enlisted men and women from the Aviation Survival Technician AST rating completed an initial 18 week training course at the Aviation Technical Training Center followed by four weeks training at USN Rescue Swimmer School to provide Rescue Swimmer graduates with the flexibility strength endurance and equipment knowledge to function for 30 minutes in heavy seas. Graduate RSs then attend the Coast Guard EMT School located at Technical Training Center Petaluma CA to complete the National Registry EMT course to provide basic pre hospital life support for rescued individuals to eliminate the need for a separate on board EMT hospital corpsmen crewman. ASM3 Kelly M. Mogk became the first female to graduate from US Navy Rescue Swimmer School on 23 May 1986.

Rescue Swimmer personnel at Astoria became operational on 31 January 1986 followed by Clearwater on 11 August 1986 Sitka Alaska on 20 November 1986 and Cape Cod on 1 December 1986. The Rescue Swimmer Standardization Team and initial RS training was relocated to ATC Mobile in August 1988. A further four air stations went operational in 1988 with six in 1989 and a further three air stations in 1990. Five air stations and two air facilities became operational in 1991 with Rescue Swimmers at Air Facility Charleston SC the last to become operational on 24 October 1991 completing the implementation of the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer program at all twenty four Coast Guard helicopter air stations and two air facilities.

With cliff rescue call outs increasing ATC Mobile instructors designed new cliff rescue procedures and trained designated pilots RSs and aircrews from every air station in in June and July 1993 to add the capabilities. In the first ten years of operations over 400 lives were saved through Rescue Swimmer deployment.

With cliff and sea cave rescue techniques the adoption of a variety of additional specialised equipment and the need to carry out risk assessments during rescue operations the new Coast Guard Advanced Rescue Swimmer School was established at Astoria on 9 April 1996 to make use of the local rugged coastline demanding surf and prevailing high seas for training pilots hoist operators flight mechanics and rescue swimmers.  


This patch dates from the 1990s.









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