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Coast Guard Swimmers Test Boundaries of Courage

Coast Guard rescue swimmers have an extremely important job. If they're not trained properly, it can mean the difference between life and death. Read Transcript


YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES TO

COMPLETE THE EVOLUTION.

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

NO.

Reporter: A RESCUE

SWIMMER CANDIDATE PREPARES

FOR A MAJOR MILESTONE IN A

GRUELING 24-WEEK TRAINING

PROGRAM.

CHECK YOUR FINS.

CHECK YOUR TRITAN.

Reporter: ONE OF THE

ROUGHEST TESTS IS WHAT IS

CALLED "THE NON-COMPLIANT

SURVIVOR TEST."

AFTER JUMPING OFF THIS

15-FOOT PLATFORM INTO THE

POOL BELOW, THE RESCUE

SWIMMER MUST GET CONTROL OF

THE UNRESPONSIVE SWIMMER,

AND PUT THAT SWIMMER INTO

THIS RESCUE HARNESS.

PLAYING THE VICTIM, AN

INSTRUCTOR AT THE AVIATION

TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER IN

ELIZABETH CITY, NORTH

CAROLINA.

OTHERS GRADE THE TEST FROM

INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE POOL,

CRITIQUING EVERY MOVE.

THE RESCUE SWIMMER GETS

THREE TRIES.

THEY'VE ALREADY IN TESTED 10

WEEKS IN THE MOST DEMANDING

TRAINING PROGRAM IN THE

COAST GUARD.

PROXIMATELY 65% TO 70%

WILL NOT MAKE IT THROUGH THE

PROGRAM.

ALTHOUGH WE GET SOME

INCREDIBLY GIFTED ATHLETES

INTO OUR PROGRAM, THE

TOUGHEST PART OF THIS

TRAINING IS DEFINITELY IN

THE POOL.

IT IS A COMBINATION OF

PERSISTENCE AND COURAGE.

AND SOME OF THE STUDENTS

HAVE IT, AND SOME DON'T.

IF THEY DO, WE CAN ENHANCE

IT.

IF THEY DON'T, THERE IS

NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO GIVE

THEM THAT.

BUT WE DO EVERYTHING WE CAN

FOR THOSE WHO ARE DETERMINED

TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE

PROGRAM TO SEE THEY WILL

SUCCEED.

Reporter: THAT INCLUDES

22-YEAR-OLD TYLER POOLE, ONE

TO PASS THE TEST.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO DO IT,

GO WHOLE HEARTED.

FOR ME, THERE IS NOTHING

ELSE.

I'M STUCK IN THE COAST GUARD

FOR ANOTHER FIVE YEARS, AND

THERE IS NOTHING ELSE HERE I

WANT TO DO BESIDES BE A

RESCUE SWIMMER.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO DO IT, GO

ALL THE WAY.

Reporter: POOLE SAYS

THE 2006 FILM "THE

GUARDIAN," INSPIRED HIM TO

BE A COAST GUARD RESCUE

SWIMMER.

CHIEF TIM KESE IS ONE OF THE

INSTRUCTORS.

I'M COINED THE PHRASE "WE

ARE THE GUARDIAN ANGELS."

PEOPLE ARE OUT THERE IN

DISTRESS, IT IS DARK AND

STORMY.

THEY'RE AT THEIR MOST WORST,

AND THEY'RE MORE THAN LIKELY

PRAYING TO JESUS TO SAVE

THEM.

AND WHO COMES OVERHEAD,

THEIR GUARDIAN ANGEL IN AN

ORANGE HELICOPTER.

A COAST GUARD RESCUE

SWIMMER.

Reporter: IN 2011, THE

COAST GUARD REPORTED IT

SAVED THE LIVES ABOUT THREE

OUT OF FOUR PEOPLE IN THE

WATER.

THEY SAVE APPROXIMATELY 850

LIVES EACH YEAR.

IN 2005, THE NUMBER SPIKED

TO 7,500.

THE MAST MAJORITY BEING

HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIMS.

KESE KNOWS FIRSTHAND THE

IMPORTANCE OF THE JOB.

HIS CHRISTIAN FAITH ALSO

MOTIVATES HIM TO SEE

RECRUITS SUCCEED.

I PRAY EVERY DAY FOR

THESE STUDENTS.

I GET ON MY KNEES IN MY

OFFICE BEFORE THEY COME OUT

AND GET IN THE POOL, AND I

ASK FOR HIS GUIDANCE, AND

HIS HOLY GRACE.

WE NEED THESE INSTRUCTORS.

Reporter: PETTY OFFICER

ROB MORGAN SAYS IT IS ABOUT

80% OF THE TOTAL.

AND HE SAYS A REVAMPED

TRAINING PROGRAM WILL HELP

GROW THAT NUMBER, WITHOUT

COMPROMISING SKILL LEVEL.

I THINK THE WAY WE'VE

REDESIGNED THIS PROGRAM HAS

DONE A GOOD JOB OF BUILDING

THESE STUDENTS OUT, RATHER

THAN WEEDING THEM OUT AND

THEY'RE ACTUALLY GETTING

STRONGER, THE ONES THAT ARE

FOCUSED.

Reporter: AND A NEW

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR

TRAINING BUILDING CAN BE AT

TRIBUTEED ATTRIBUTED.

IT CONTROLS DOZENS OF SOUND

EFFECTS, THUNDER, ROTORS,

JETS, FOG HORNS, AND SIRENS,

JUST TO NAME A FEW.

28-YEAR-OLD GRAHAM MCGINNIS

RECENTLY GRADUATED FROM THE

RESCUE SWIMMERS SCHOOL.

IT WAS HIS SECOND TRY.

BUT HIS PERSEVERANCE PAID

OFF.

NEW ORLEANS IS HIS NEXT

ASSIGNMENT.

I LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT

MYSELF, AND I'VE LEARNED SO

MUCH ABOUT THE POWER OF GOD,

AND WHAT HE REALLY CAN DO

WHEN YOU NEED HIM THE MOST,

ESPECIALLY.

SO...IT'S BEEN A BIG

JOURNEY.

IT HAS BEEN A LOT FOR ME.

Reporter: A LOT OF

PRAYER FOR YOU?

ABSOLUTELY.

ABSOLUTELY.

IT'S AMAZING WHERE YOU CAN

SQUEEZE IN A PRAYER.

AS LONG AS YOU'VE GOT A

SPARE SECOND, YOU'VE GOT

TIME TO MAKE A PRAYER.

Reporter: LIKE KESE,

MCGINNIS IS A CHRISTIAN.

HE SAYS HE WAS EIGHT YEARS

OLD WHEN HE KNEW HE WANTED

TO BE A RESCUE SWIMMER.

GOD HAS A HIGHER CALL FOR

ME.

AND FOR ME IT IS JUMPING OUT

OF HELICOPTERS.

Reporter: AND RESCUING

THOSE IN THE WATERS BELOW.

MARK MARTIN, CBN NEWS,

ELIZABETH CITY, NORTH

CAROLINA.

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