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Episode 186 [Full] Larry Farmer, USCG Rescue Swimmer #06

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Episode Description

In this episode of The Real ResQ, host Jason Quinn is joined by Larry Farmer, U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer 06.

Farmer, the godfather of the United States Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Program, shares his journey from joining the Coast Guard to becoming an aviation survival technician (AST) and what it took to help build the swimmer program.

He talks about his first search-and-rescue case as an AST, which involved retrieving a deceased individual from the water and delivering him to Mexican authorities. Farmer also describes the process of performing platform pickups, where the H3 helicopter lands on water and taxis to the survivor.

He shares a harrowing rescue mission 220 miles (350 kilometers) off the coast of San Diego, where the helicopter had to navigate through thick fog to reach a distressed crew member on a freighter. This earned him an Air Medal.

Farmer talks about his heroic actions following a plane crashing into the building he was in. With burning jet fuel and chemical explosions, his dedication to rescuing survivors and doing what he could to help earned him a Coast Guard Medal.

Farmer’s commitment to the rescue swimmer program and his role in shaping its future are discussed, along with the reason he decided to attend the Navy Rescue Swimmer School. Farmer also explains the resistance and challenges faced in implementing the rescue swimmer program in the U.S. Coast Guard.

He talks about the pushback from changing the existing protocol and the difficulties in standardizing the program. Despite the obstacles, the program has been successful in saving lives and has gained recognition from other services worldwide.

We closed out our conversation with some great advice: Never quit during the dark days, and stay true to oneself. Enjoy!

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