So Others May Live: Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmers: Saving Lives, Defying Death
So Others May Live is the untold story of the history of the U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer. There are twelve heroic stories which chronicle a representation of the greatest maritime rescues attempted since the inception of the program in 1985. These feats, told through the eyes of the hero, reveal an understanding of how and why the rescuer, with flight crew assistance, risks his or her life to reach out to save a stranger. The events unfold in diverse geographic areas and environments: oceans, hurricanes, oil rigs, caves, sinking vessels, floods, Niagara Falls and in the aftermath of one of our countries worst natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina.
These events are true and classified as legitimate by the top rescue swimmers in the business. They support these accounts as being illustrative of the best of the best. This collection includes the story of the first woman rescue swimmer (in all the military services), the first Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to a swimmer and real cases that became catalysts for equipment changes and mandatory training scenarios implemented later in the Advanced Rescue Swimmer School. These stories reveal for the first time how swimmers deal with their own, raw feelings and emotional distress following difficult or tragic cases. Now, instead of leaving the service, they are assisted through their recovery by Critical Incident Stress Management counselors and return to work.
Mandated by Congress after the significant loss of life from the sinking of the vessel Marine Electric and coupled with findings of fact from the NTSB investigation of the Air Florida 737 crash into the District of Columbia's 14th Street bridge one year before, this book details, for the first time, the history of the program’s development and the need for hypothermic survivors to be rescued with new techniques. The accounts are supported by interviews from the "first five" swimmers and officers, founding fathers and men who were integral for the creation of this profession. Working from official documents, survivor and rescue swimmer interviews and period photographs, their courageous stories are told. So Others May Live also describes the program’s internal and external challenges, lessons learned, training, skills and the motivation required of a swimmer to risk his or her life and come back alive. The program, its men and women, are models for military services worldwide.
A portion of the author’s proceeds from the sale of this book were donated to the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School for the development of a new aquatic facility in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The new facility opened in October of 2012.
So Others May Live is available in paperback and e-book from your local bookstore, The Lyons Press or on the Internet.