So Others May Live: Saving Lives, Defying Death with the Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmers

So Others May Live: Saving Lives, Defying Death with the Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmers

by Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite, Tom Ridge (Foreword by)


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So Others May Live: Saving Lives, Defying Death with the Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmers by Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite

So Others May Live is the untold story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s quiet but resolute rescue swimmers. From deep ocean caves on the Oregon coast to the panicked and chaotic streets of post-Katrina New Orleans, here are their stunningly heroic stories. In startlingly clear and exceptional writing, Martha LaGuardia-Kotite tells twelve heroic stories of the greatest maritime rescues attempted since the program began in 1985. These feats, told through the eyes of the heroes, reveal an understanding of how and why the rescuer, with flight crew assistance, risks his or her own life to reach out to save a stranger. Covering diverse environments—oceans, hurricanes, oil rigs, caves, sinking vessels, floods, and even Niagara Falls—So Others May Live is truly a can’t-put-it-down collection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781599211596
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/02/2008
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,238,717
Product dimensions: 8.78(w) x 5.96(h) x 0.76(d)

About the Author

Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a writer with hundreds of magazines articles to her credit. This is her first book. She lives in Niceville, Florida.

Read an Excerpt

The helicopter crew made a daring and unprecedented decision. Knowing that Heaton must be stuck, out of sight and reach, they decided to do the only thing they could do. Fly into the cave. “We realized that either the swimmer had to leave the victim or we had to enter the cave . . . or they both would die,” said Burris. Gibbons meticulously maneuvered the helicopter inside.Wyatt watched the rotors and judged how far they were from the cave walls on the right. Burris watched the left. “Gibbons had the entire body of the helicopter inside the cave with the exception of the left side of the rotor head,” recalled Wyatt. Now, close to thirty feet inside the cave, the flight mechanic quickly dropped the rescue basket. “I used the waves entering the cave to carry the basket to him as I let out slack in the hoist cable,” said Wyatt.Heaton grabbed it. From Chapter 5: “To Almost Die”

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So Others May Live: Saving Lives, Defying Death with the Coast Guard's Rescue Swimmers 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
AFoos More than 1 year ago
Riveting stories of heroism and bravery! I spent the summer reading quite a bit and REALLY enjoyed "So Others May Live"!! Half the time I found myself holding my breath reading the stories wondering when my heart rate would drop back to normal. The striking thing amongst all of the stories is the humility that each swimmer displayed by looking at their actions as just another day performing "their jobs". That these stories are only just a small sampling of the past, present, and future exploits of these extraordinary individuals is truly amazing. I also thought the last chapter, dedicated to those who didn't come back, was an extremely classy way to highlight the danger and real human sacrifice that these unsung heroes have made in the interest of saving the lives of complete strangers. A tip of the hat to these incredible Coast Guard heroes. Semper Paratus!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is a great. rescue swimmers are great individuals. i know this because i know a lot of them. they do incredible things and not get some kind of praise for it. but, i was a little disappointed because like the rescue swimmers, flight mechanics, the crewmembers who does the hoisting up and down the helicopter are not getting the thanks that they deserve, too. everybody aboard that helicopter work as a team and should be praised as a team. wihout the skills of the pilot, flying would be hard. without the flight mechanics, hoisting the rescue swimmers and the victims back up to the helicopters would not be possible, or when the choppers break down they are the ones who fix it. without the rescue swimmers, water rescue would not be possible. i know thay do a lot of work, but, they are not the only people who are working. maybe, i am biased because my significant other is a flight mechanic, but i really do think the crew should be praised equally. its great they made a movie about the rescue swimmers, i love that movie, but how often did they show flight mechs do their jobs and got praised for it. i have not seen a book about flight mechanics yet, maybe some of you know of one. let me know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From begining to end this is a great book about the Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her description of the harrowing rescues on rooftops in New Orleans took my breath away. I've been in SAR situations where a person had to be forced to leave a sinking boat, and on law-enforcement sorties where the bad guys had guns, but, in each of those occasions, you knew exactly what to expect - things were straightforward. The deteriorating conditions in New Orleans after Katrina, gave the crew, especially the swimmers, such extraordinary unknowns. The need to adapt to such changing and challenging situations so quickly - and the sheer number of them! - was obviously devastating to both body and psyche. And, the fact that among Coast Guard personnel there were no deaths, no collisions, no serious injury, is just astounding. I'm not sure that this country really appreciates the length to which our little service went in those days following the hurricane. Her book made it all so clear. I felt like I was hovering alongside the aircraft, totally immersed in the emotion of the moment `didn¿t matter if it was over the water, or next to a cliff or in a cave. Her words took you there. The book, and the story it tells, is nothing short of exceptional. They say you write best when you 'write about what you know.' Well, with the help of those amazing rescue swimmers, she obviously knew what she was writing about and took it to a level of intensity found in very few books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
SO OTHERS MAY LIVE: Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue Swimmers, Saving Lives, Defying Death (Foreword by Tom Ridge) by CDR Martha LaGuardia, USCGR Reviewed by Captain George Krietemeyer, USCG (Ret.), President, U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Association Commander LaGuardia more than earns her stripes with an extremely well researched and documented book describing the inside story of how and why the U.S. Coast Guard jumped into the rescue swimmer business. I strongly suggest keeping a towel nearby to wipe off the salt water after each rescue is described. Her research starts in the early 70¿s with SARWET teams ¿ early pilot programs testing concepts of improved rescue capability using specially trained crewmembers in helicopter operations. She names all the people who put their ideas forward and tested the concepts. Most of them are members of the Coast Guard Aviation Association. The author then describes the full story behind congressional `guidance¿ accelerating efforts to get a full fledged Coast Guard rescue swimmer program underway. I happened to be the Commandant¿s Chief of Training at Coast Guard Headquarters at the time and played a small part in focusing attention on this effort. Once the reader is introduced to a full understanding of the background, Martha expertly guides the reader through the next 20 years with exciting and well written examples of some of the hairiest rescues our crews have accomplished. Once again, she names the people and describes their heroic efforts on a case-by-case basis. Many of you will know these people! This is a book which will delight history buffs and adventure seekers. Her writing style is action oriented. A MUST READ for military types and others ¿with a liking for the sea and its lore.¿ For source purposes: Review from PTEROGRAM, journal of the Ancient Order of the Pterodactyl (Coast Guard Aviation Association), Editor Captain Ray Copin, USCG (Ret.), (
Guest More than 1 year ago
When we first heard about this book, some of the guys in the shop were skeptical about how it would turn out. We have all read articles and stories about the work we do and wondered how the writers got it so wrong. Embellishments, mis-quotes, and cheesy bravado injected into stories about Coast Guard swimmers have often left us cold to the idea of a book about the job. But Laguardia-Kotite got it right¿..way right. Her book is meticulously researched, well-organized, and tells the story of Coast Guard rescues without overstepping the facts in exchange for reactions. She simply put to paper the heart of the program through stories of actual men and women engaged in the unique job of aviation rescue crewmembers. Also refreshing was the way she (better than anyone I have ever read) tells the story of the rescue swimmer as part of a team, giving all due credit to the pilots and flight mechanics that make rescue at sea possible.