From the Field: Passing the pilot’s torch

>By Lt. Tasha Hood, Air Station Detroit

(Lt. j.g. Anthony Falce and Cmdr. Nicholas Koester stand in front of and HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter in the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit hangar.)

On Sept. 30, 2010, Cmdr. Nicholas Koester and Lt. j.g. Anthony Falce, both pilots at U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, stood an interesting duty watch. What made it interesting was the fact that after 20 years of outstanding service in both the Army and Coast Guard, Koester was standing his final watch before he was to retire on Oct. 15. Falce, on the other hand, was standing his first qualified watch as a Coast Guard pilot.

Together, with their flight mechanic Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Huff and rescue swimmer Petty Officer 3rd Class David White, they participated in two search and rescue cases during the night. The cases included a search for two fisherman suspected to have fallen into the water in the vicinity of Fairport, Ohio, and another search for an Emergency Positioning-Indicating Radio Beacon near Niagara, N.Y.

“My first duty day was a trial by fire of Great Lakes search and rescue,” said Falce. “After flying with Cmdr. Koester, I learned all the essential skills to successfully perform a search and rescue case.”

This duty rotation was the perfect display of a seasoned veteran passing on his knowledge to the next generation of duty standers.

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