It’s no coincidence that Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles’ (Air Station LA) motto is “Home of Hollywood’s Real Heroes,” as they are located in the heart of Los Angeles, at Los Angeles International Airport. What’s unique about Air Station LA is its interaction with the Coast Guard’s Motion Picture Office. If you see a Coast Guard HH-65 on TV or in the movies, chances are it’s from Air Station LA.
In the previous years, a few officers were involved as military extras in a cocktail party for a new TV drama series, and several Air Station LA personnel were involved as extras in the hit movie “The Perfect Storm” and in the popular TV drama “The West Wing.” During one scene in “The Perfect Storm,” you might actually see a former rescue swimmer pulling the downed helicopter crew out of the water!
Recently, Air Station LA has been involved with a few TV productions: a Nickelodeon special shot by “Splash TV” last spring and a recent shoot with the History Channel’s “Tactical to Practical.” Both shows revolved around the Coast Guard’s Rescue Swimmer. In the latest shoot, the host, Hunter Ellis, teamed up with Air Station LA’s Rescue Swimmers to do a mock rescue of a PIW (person in the water).
Hunter was taken through some of the rescue swimmers’ training and was shown procedures on everything from putting on gear to free fall techniques. He even completed the aircrew duck syllabus by getting rolled up side down in the in the helicopter SWET (shallow water egress trainer) Trainer and completed a Coast Guard swim test.
The rescue scene will be featured in late May as part of “Tactical to Practical’s” extreme rescue series. “Tactical to Practical” illustrates how military equipment and know how carry over to civilian life, and the Coast Guard’s rescue swimmer is an excellent example of military know how.These shows have positively spotlighted the Coast Guard’s Missions, and bring credit to the Coast Guard, the stations that take part, and highlight some of the specialties of our fellow Coasties. You can’t get much better visibility than on TV or in the movies, especially when it’s free!