By Chief Warrant Officer Donnie Brzuska.
It’s been more than 24 years since Chief Petty Officer Walter E. Prim Jr. received that gut-wrenching mayday call from the crew of the fishing vessel Three V’s reporting they were on fire. Shortly after the initial call, then Fireman Apprentice Prim and a crew from Station Montauk, N.Y., launched to help the fishermen. Almost immediately after getting underway, the Coast Guardsmen could see the glowing flames from fishing vessel on the horizon.
When they arrived, they found Three V’s engulfed in flames with the fishermen huddled on the stern of the vessel beating back the fire and contemplating jumping in to the 42-degree water in Long Island Sound, a fate as almost dangerous as the fire. Without hesitation, the coxswain of the rescue boat pulled alongside the burning vessel, and Prim and the crew pulled the men to safety.
“I remember the smells of the fire, I remember the intense heat from the fire, but most of all I remember the look of relief on the faces of those men when we were pulling them onboard our vessel,” said Prim.
It’s this experience that inspired “The SAR Call,” one of the Coast Guard’s Top 5 Cadences of 2013. Each year Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, the service’s only enlisted basic training facility, solicits original marching cadences from across the service.
“The Coast Guard Cadence Contest allows servicemembers from across the Coast Guard to educate our recruits,” said Capt. Todd Prestidge, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. “Everything we do here is aimed at educating and preparing future Coast Guardsmen for the rigors of service, and that includes when they call cadence.”
The Coast Guard will release the Top 5 Cadences throughout the week of Sept. 23, and the public will be given the opportunity to vote on their favorite cadence by “liking” it on Facebook and YouTube. The Top Coast Guard Cadence of 2013 will be announced the week of Oct. 14.
Training Center Cape May prepares more than 80 percent of the Coast Guard’s entire workforce to conduct the service’s frontline missions around the world. The Coast Guard is among the most selective and recruits the most qualified applicants of the five armed services. This rigorous training program educates future Coast Guardsmen in everything from basic water survival to marksmanship, and many graduates will be conducting Coast Guard missions just days after basic training.
“Many (Coast Guardsmen) will experience loss of lives during their careers, but my focus was to share the gratification you feel when you save a life because that’s what keeps you going.”
Behind every cadence, there’s a story, and each story is aimed at preparing future Coast Guardsmen. Prim’s cadence encourages future Coast Guardsmen to accept the good with the bad and focus on those cases when everyone comes home safe. He says it’s that feeling that can keep you working towards preparing for the next big case.
Training Center Cape May is proud to present “The SAR Call:”