Episode 162: Will Johnson, US Coast Guard pilot
December 7, 2023 | Hosted By: Jason Quinn
In this episode of The Real ResQ, host Jason Quinn is joined by Will Johnson, a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Pilot.
Johnson grew up in Central Valley California. At 12 years old, he started hanging around the fire department next to his school. This is where his passion for search-and-rescue (SAR) began to develop.
Wanting to be a pilot, Johnson applied to the USCG Academy but was denied, twice. He applied to Officer Candidate School (OCS) and was picked up. Still dreaming of being a pilot, he applied and was denied for flight school. However, Johnson wanted to fly and he wasn’t going to take “No” for an answer.
The first SAR case that Johnson remembers as a pilot In command (PIC) is going out for a standard search. It was a great learning experience as a PIC, making sure he delegated the right job to the right person in the crew.
The next few rescues that stand out to Johnson were amazing. He tells us about a time when three people were in the water and he only had enough fuel to be on scene for five minutes! Then he talks about a rescue of an F-15 fighter pilot who had to eject out of his plane when it malfunctioned. His next rescue story earned him a letter of commendation while he was stationed in North Bend (Coos Bay), Oregon. Another rescue “attempt” while he was in North Bend was for an injured firefighter in the mountains. The last rescue Johnson tells us about was a medevac to a remote island in Alaska. Enjoy!
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