Coast Guard: 'It's not guaranteed that you're coming back'
NORTH BEND, Ore. -- From protecting our homeland security to maritime resources, to patrolling the beaches of the Oregon Coast.
Those are just a few of the many things the the men and women of the US Coast Guard who are always ready stationed on the South Coast do.
They are a group of service men and women dedicated to protecting our maritime safety and security.
Sector North Bend is a Coast Guard hub responsible for two thirds of the Oregon Coast.
They stretch from Pacific City to the north, all the was down to the California border.
Capt. Mark Reynolds, the commanding officer, says it isn't just about the fast paced missions. "We work in an environment that can become dangerous at times and we're out there to help folks, but we also want to make sure that we're taking care of our shipmates and our equipment so that we can get back in as good as shape as we left," he said.
To do that, they practice something called 'proficiency in craft.' "That means just being really good at what you do," said Reynolds.
Each of them are experts in their field.
Lawrence Nettles, a rescue swimmer, described some of the things that he has done in his time with the Coast Guard. "I've jumped out of helicopters in 20 foot swells, I've swam in hurricanes, I've done rescues in the hurricanes," he said.
He says he was also the first rescue swimmer on scene during Hurricane Katrina.
But it's not just operating in the water. It's from the air.
Lt. Patrick Wright is a helicopter pilot, and he says whenever they get ready to fly, there are always questions. "Do we have good enough weather to get out of here? Do we have good enough weather to get back here? If we don't, where are we going to go? All the while knowing that you're running out of fuel."
Training is one of the biggest parts of the job.
Recently, they held training for future search and rescue missions.
From sinking ships and medical evacuations, to security and law enforcement, they say they're ready at a moment's notice.
"It's pretty tough, it's dangerous just like any other force," said Sarah Diaz. "You can go out and it's not guaranteed that you're coming back."
It's a risk taken by thousands to serve our country, often leaving home and their loved ones behind.