On this 14th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall along the Gulf Coast, we talk with Aviation Survival Technician Sara Faulkner (Ret), the first woman to graduate from the Coast Guard’s own Rescue Swimmer School, about the immediate response of Coast Guard aircrews to what has become known as “The Super Bowl of SAR.” She tells of the sights and smells of a flooded major city, rescuing a newborn in mid air after the mother hands the baby to her from a hi-rise balcony, and the mass rescues performed non-stop in the days after the hurricane. Sara also tells some of the more dramatic tales of her twenty years of service, including her first SAR case as a member of a motor lifeboat crew and a near death experience in the Bahamas.
Rear Admiral Donna Cottrell talks the launch of three helicopters to save a foundering commercial fishing vessel off Atlantic City, leading the response to a medical evacuation as an enlisted BM and coxswain, and commanding the service’s aerial gun crews at the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON).
Former Storekeeper Shawnle Jones talks candidly about the challenges and struggles of being one of the first women to enlist after the Coast Guard opened all assignments to women in 1978, her first tour of duty as a Motor Lifeboat Crewmember at Station Fort Point in San Francisco Bay where she was routinely called on to respond to cases involving the tragic loss of life at sea, and her ongoing support to the Women In Military Service For America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetary. Note this episode covers mature subject matter. Parental discretion is advised.