On the night of 4 September 2008, Coast Guard MH-65C helicopter 6505 was conducting an over-water training mission south of Honolulu, Hawaii. While delivering a rescue basket to a Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Lifeboat something went terribly wrong and the aircraft descended to the water with two pilots, a flight mechanic and a rescue swimmer onboard. On this fateful night the following men lost their lives:
Pilot: Captain Thomas Nelson
Co-Pilot: Lieutenant Commander Andrew Wischmeier
Rescue Swimmer: Aviation Survival Technician First Class David Skimin
Flight Mechanic: Aviation Maintenance Technician Second Class Joshua Nichols
United States Coast Guard Core Values
The Coast Guard core values appear on the inner waistband of the shorts. The core values are more than just Coast Guard rules of behavior. They are deeply rooted in the heritage that has made our organization great. They demonstrate who we are and guide our performance, conduct, and decisions every minute of every day. Because we each represent the Coast Guard to the public, we must all embrace these values in our professional undertakings as well as in our personal lives.
Honor – Integrity is our standard. We demonstrate uncompromising ethical conduct and moral behavior in all of our personal actions. We are loyal and accountable to the public trust.
Respect – We value our diverse work force. We treat each other with fairness, dignity, and compassion. We encourage individual opportunity and growth. We encourage creativity through empowerment. We work as a team.
Devotion to Duty – We are professionals, military and civilian, who seek responsibility, accept accountability, and are committed to the successful achievement of our organizational goals. We exist to serve. We serve with pride.
The Coast Guard’s slash or “Racing Stripe”
The stripe image on the side of the shorts matches the “racing stripe” design on the MH-65C’s high visibility international orange paint scheme that uses a wide white bar to the right of a narrow blue bar. The familiar and distinctive red slash or “racing stripe” did not appear on our cutters, boats and aircraft until relatively late in our history. In the early 1960s, America’s visual image had been neglected both inside as well as outside the U.S. Since image building played an important role in the recent election of President John F. Kennedy, the industrial design firm of Raymond Loewy/William Snaith, Inc. was hired to redesign the exterior and interior of the presidential plane. Kennedy was so pleased with the new design that he approved their proposal for improving the world-wide visual identification of the U.S. government.
In 1964, the firm recommended that the Coast Guard adopt a symbol or mark that would be easily distinguished from other government agencies and easily applied to ships, boats, aircraft, stations, vehicles, signs and printed forms. Their design was a wide red bar to the right of a narrow blue bar, both canted at 64 degrees. Centered on the red bar was a new emblem.
“Bear in the Sailor Hat” logo
The left leg of the game short is adorned with the “Bear in the Sailor Hat” logo. The legacy of one of the most dramatic rescues in Coast Guard history is a constant reminder to Cadets of the importance of fitness, teamwork and perseverance. The long time Academy mascot, the Bear, was chosen to honor the renowned Coast Guard Cutter of the same name. In 1897, the Revenue Cutter Bear embarked upon one of her greatest missions. After a busy summer she was heading south for the winter, and put into Seattle along the way. There she was met with the news that eight whaling ships with 265 men aboard were trapped in the ice off Point Barrow, the northern point of Alaska. President McKinley personally asked if Bear would try a rescue dash, although no vessel had ever sailed north at that time of year. Bear accepted the challenge, and sailed north on 27 November, with a volunteer crew. She drove northward into the cold, stormy seas for many days, finally grinding to a halt in the ice at Cape Vancouver, Nelson Island. She was still 1200 miles from the whalers. Three of her officers, Lieutenants Jarvis and Bertholf and Surgeon Call voluntarily left the Bear to trek through across the ice to the whalers. Their remarkable journey took 120 days, averaging ten miles a day. For 800 miles they drove a herd of reindeer ahead of them, to feed the trapped men. They were just in time. When the rescue party arrived with the herd of reindeer, the whalers had run out of food and were reduced to eating their boots. Bear plowed forward again in the spring, finally arriving off Point Barrow in July. She was promptly trapped in the ice herself; the pressure of the ice bulged her decks and threatened to break her rudder. Only by an all-hands effort to cut the ice away from her hull was the ship saved. With the rescue completed, she sailed south and broke out of the ice.