What it takes to be a U.S Coast Guard

May 28, 2013
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Brandon is a hero like many others, but he isn’t just anyone. He was one of the many who was lucky enough to be called a United States Coast Guard. Like any Coast Guard, he wanted to help people and make them feel like life is a blessing and that everyone deserves a second chance to live even if it meant that their lives had to flash in front of their eyes first. What you probably didn’t know that not only is he now a veteran but also an amazing brother as well.

About 10 years ago, after Brandon graduated from Mount Baker High School; he decided to go and join the Coast Guard. His reasons were simple; he wanted a free education along with the honor he wanted with being a savior to people that needed it the most. Independence was also a main reason in entering, because he was always kind of anti-social and never had the best emotional strength growing up. His goal was to build himself up emotionally and mentally to become a better person and that is just what he did.

Boot camp was the most difficult part in training. Since he was never a great swimmer to begin with, pool time was a great struggle. His determination took control over his body, and every single second he had to hold his breath was like a thousand knives stabbing into his lungs but he overcame the pain, remembering that his victims would be feeling the same way if they were stranded in the Ocean. He told me that he had already improved himself 40% and that he was trying to see how much more he could achieve. The hardest part for him knowing that he had a pregnant wife at home that would soon enough become a mother of three, and he had to support them.

After long months of hard work, he was finally officially considered a Coast Guard and go to choose his path in which he wanted to follow. He decided to be part of the Search and Rescue team. There, he had to jump out of helicopters and off of boats to save his victims in need. God only knew that he was risking his own life as well as the lives of the people he was trying to save but that never once stopped him. Brandon’s mental health sadly began to sink though, this happened after he began pulling dead bodies out of the water. At first he said “oh they are just dead people but I was wrong… Dead people are the best way to describe it” I quickly learned that what he said was true and that “Dead People” was a nice way of saying it. He began explaining to me how most of the time he’d pull bodies that has been in the ocean for a few days or weeks. It got so bad that some of them weren’t even bodies anymore, but a saggy corpse found in multiple pieces floating in the water. The worst part was that most of these people were children that had either drowned or got in boat accidents.

Things really went downhill from there, at that time his children were age’s newborn, three and five. Comprehending that he couldn’t even look at his children because all he saw when he looked at him were the dead corpses he had pulled out months before. Shortly after, he had decided that Search and Rescue wasn’t the best spot for him in the Coast Guard. He had talked to his chief about what else he could do and there were open spots for being a cop. Brandon decided that’s what he wanted to do. The transformation made a huge difference in my brother’s life and helped him build up his mental strength again. He learned how to drive a giant boat and drive out in the middle of the oceans and be a assisting with saving people by listening to the radio and alerting his fellow Rescue Crew.

It was nice to finally see a smile on his face when he was talking about his achievement of being a USCG Cop. I’m glad he shared his story with me because I not only learned things about what it means to be a coast Guard, but a lot about my big brother himself. He is now living at home with his wife and three kids in Lynden, Washington. Brandon still helps people today by teaching young troubled kids Mixed Martial Arts and helping them build up their mental strength; he is truly an American hero.

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