Guardian of the Week – BM2 Garrison

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Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Matthew Garrison was a true Guardian in action on Sunday when his professional training and good instincts saved the life of an unconscious scuba diver.

BM2 Garrison was going about his usual routine of boat check offs and maintenance down at Coast Guard Station Monterey’s boat dock when he heard commotion over at the nearby San Carlos Beach. When he learned what was happening, he told the station’s communication watch to call emergency services, grabbed the first-aid kit from one of the boats and an automated external defibrillator (AED), and ran to the beach.

When BM2 arrived, the woman had been pulled from the water by fellow divers. “We took off her mask and checked for vitals. They were negative so we started CPR. Her husband wanted to do the breaths so I did two sets of chest compressions,” BM2 Garrison recounted. He then hooked up the defibrillator, which told him to continue CPR. Seconds later, her eyes opened and blinked letting him know that she had regained consciousness. The local EMS took her to the hospital where she was listed in stable condition.

According to BM2, “there were about 100 people watching and when she regained consciousness they all clapped, which was kind of weird for me”. Weird because this is what he does as a Guardian. Weird because these types of situations don’t always end well. “We have had about four other cases like this where the divers actually didn’t make it… which always stick with you, but I am happy that this lady made it through” said BM2. “Because it has happened before, I knew the exact steps to take. The fact that I am a boat coxswain and trained to handle stressful situations also really helped,” he added. Additionally, Coast Guard boat crewmembers are routinely trained in first aid and CPR.


BM2 Garrison is a highly qualified member of Station Monterey’s crew. He is qualified as Officer of the Day (OOD), heavy weather coxswain of the 47-foot Motor Life Boat, and coxswain of the 41-foot Utility Boat and 25-foot Defender Class Boat. Originally from San Diego, BM2 Garrison joined the Coast Guard in 2002 and was a reserve Port Security Specialist before going on active duty as a Boatswain’s Mate. He has recently applied to lateral over to the newly established Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist rating and hopes to get more involved in maritime law enforcement.

Congratulations BM2 Garrison on a job well done and for your Semper Paratus spirit!

Do you know someone in the Coast Guard that has done something great for the service, the missions or the public? Please submit your nominations for Guardian of the Week using the submit button at the top of the page.

3 comments on “Guardian of the Week – BM2 Garrison”

  1. Bravo BM2 Garrison! We are in Livermore, and our 19-yr-old son J.E.S. is in Sandy Hook, NJ. Well done, Sir. Well done. Slainte, agus Semper Paratus!

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