Coast Guard Yaquina Bay Coast Guardsman BM2 Russell Thacker joined the ranks of the elite coast guard rescue craft operators – becoming a Coast Guard Surfman. A grueling training regimen among some of the most brutal storm waves and wind that Mother Nature can throw at a human being is what makes the achievement spectacular. Thacker joins an elite group that is greatly respected and honored and relied upon to courageously save lives and property under the most horrendous conditions by piloting their motor lifeboats and other craft that are both powerful and nimble in the right hands.
Surfman’s wife and two young daughter’s proudly applauded, along the others, in congratulating him on a success that is distinguished by skill, stamina and courage as few others in the U.S. Military.
The following courtesy U.S. Coast Guard
WHO ARE SURFMEN?
Throughout their 44-year history, the U.S. Life Saving Service (USLSS) is credited with saving over 178,000 persons.The mainstay of the USLSS was the surfmen – men who crewed lifeboats and performed daring and often amazing rescues. The USLSS passed on its legacy of lifesaving – and its surfmen – to the United States Coast Guard in 1915. Today, the title of surfman is reserved for the service’s most highly trained boat handlers. Surfmen are the only coxswains qualified to operate rescue boats in breaking surf conditions. Surf is both unpredictable and treacherous, and requires the utmost boat driving skill and mastery. Of the 188 boat stations currently in the Coast Guard, 20 stations are located in areas with surf conditions that require surfmen. Surfman qualification is the pinnacle of professionalism at these units.
WHO CAN BECOME A SURFMAN?
Any SNBM, BM3, BM2 or BM1 can enter training to become a surfman, but few have what it takes! The training is very demanding and can take anywhere from 1 to 6 years. Only 1 out of every 25 BM1 or BM2s will achieve qualification as surfman and become part of this elite community. Throughout their careers, Surfmen often prove to be among the service’s most outstanding achievers; currently 35% of BMCMs and 25% of BMCSs are qualified surfmen.
THE SURFMAN INSIGNIA
Surfmen are the Coast Guard’s elite boat coxswains; only they are permitted to wear the surfman insignia. The Coast Guard Surfman insignia recognizes the highest level of boat operations experience and the immense responsibility that Surfmen undertake in the performance of their duty, and embodies a strong sense of pride and history. Its design is based on the insignia of the USLSS: those who wear it wear it with pride, carrying on a tradition and honoring our legacy of lifesaving.