• Vertical Magazine Logo
  • Vertical Valor Logo
  • HeliTrader Logo
  • Insight Logo
  • Evtol Logo
  • Evtol Logo

Episode 184 [Full] Kelly Gordon, USCG Rescue Swimmer #02

Brought to you by:


Episode Description

In this episode of The Real ResQ, host Jason Quinn is joined by Kelly Gordon, United States Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer No. 02.

Gordon shares his journey to becoming a rescue swimmer and talks about the early days of the rescue swimmer program. He talks about his experience in the Coast Guard, including close calls and significant events while flying in Astoria, Oregon.

When talking about the earlier days of the rescue swimmer program, Gordon discusses the initial training and implementation of the program, including the challenges they faced with the equipment and the design flaws they encountered. He mentions the evaluation of wetsuits and the exposure exercises they underwent to test their effectiveness in cold water.

He recalls the excitement of their first rescue and the ones that followed. He recounts a rescue where he had to get four people away from a sinking boat in rough waves.

Another memorable rescue he describes is the medevac of a fisherman with a punctured scrotum. Gordon also had a story detailing a body recovery from a boat that sank with four people on board.

Gordon discusses the growth of the rescue swimmer program and the impact of the Jeff Tunks rescue of The Bluebird (The Real ResQ Episode 18). He also talks about his retirement from the Coast Guard and his transition to civilian life. He shares various assignments, qualifications, and experiences, including his time as one of the first five rescue swimmers. Gordon emphasizes the importance of enjoying the moment, putting things in perspective, and appreciating the small things in life. Enjoy!

This episode is powered by Vertical HeliCASTS.

Thank you for sponsoring this episode of The Real ResQ:

Axnes and PAG.

Follow The Real ResQ on Facebook and Instagram and listen on Vertical HeliCASTS. Plus, get your podcast gear at therealresqstore.com.

00:00 Introduction and technical instructions

02:59 Kelly’s background and journey to becoming a rescue swimmer

08:06 Experiences in Astoria, Oregon

25:57 Implementing the Underwater Escape Rebreather (UER) Program

29:12 Training as a NAOPSPEE instructor

32:44 Training and implementing the program

36:17 Coast Guard’s lack of a swim program

41:49 First Coasties to attend Navy Rescue Swimmer School

54:09 Evaluating the effectiveness of wetsuits

59:26 Swimming independent from the helicopter

01:02:32 The first rescues

01:05:11 The challenges of being a rescue swimmer

01:14:13 Memorable rescues

01:28:16 The impact of the Jeff Tunks rescue

01:45:00 Advice and looking forward to the reunion

Listen on your favourite platform:

Apple Podcasts Google Podcasts Spotify Youtube RSS