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They Had to Go Out

Author: They Had to Go Out

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Get ready to whiten those knuckles and hold fast as we get underway to talk with Coast Guard veterans about the most daring, dangerous, and epic sea stories ever told. Whether facing ruthless men who prey on other mariners or storms that turn calm seas into graveyards, those who go down to the sea and cast off lines enter the most challenging and dangerous environment on earth. Only here will you hear their stories and the lessons gained through their experience. Support this podcast:
97 Episodes
Former MK Jim Morphew talks a near decade of service on the Gulf Coast, two tours at one of the service’s least requested duty stations in Grand Isle, Louisiana; interdicting tons of marijuana in the opening days of the War on Drugs; the sights, sounds, and emotions of the mass migration from Cuba known as the Mariel Boatlift; cruising aboard a prototype Surface Effect Ship (SES); and overcoming post traumatic stress with the help of Veterans Affairs. --- Support this podcast:
Vice Admiral William “Dean” Lee (Ret.) talks the most impactful case of his 36 year career - the courageous effort to save a life from inside a capsized fishing vessel hull, the most important lesson learned from seven tours as a commanding officer, group versus sector organization, servant leadership, and the importance of humility. --- Support this podcast:
Commander Steve Love (Ret) talks 34 years of active service, his first patrol out of basic training aboard CGC Cherokee, white knuckling the helm and being lashed to the mast during the search for a distressed sailboat in a hurricane force storm, deploying as a cutter swimmer to rescue the crew of a downed Navy mine sweeping helicopter, searching for stowaways in Panama City, the origins of fatigue limits, his first command at Station Cape May and the tough personnel and operational decisions he was called on to make, how the Response Boat - Small II came to be a part of the fleet, and commanding a Maritime Force Protection Unit whose mission is to protect the nation’s nuclear submarine fleet. --- Support this podcast:
BOSN Erin Stapleton (Ret) talks service as the Sailmaster aboard the Tall Ship Eagle during a crossing of the Atlantic, recovering a man overboard under sail, training and mentoring Academy cadets underway, qualifying as a diver in the early days of the service’s program, diving on piers and ships in support of the port security and drug interdiction missions of Maritime Safety and Security Teams, a close call during a cruise ship hull inspection, investigating sea mine blast sites, attending the US Air Force Non Commissioned Officers Academy, his experiences with good and bad command climates as the Executive Petty Officer of a patrol boat and station, and taking command of Station Maui where he applied the lessons learned throughout his career to lead heavy weather and tactical boat crews and create agency partnerships that saved lives. --- Support this podcast:
Boatswain Kurt Strauch (Ret.) talks Coast Guard firefighting, including the rescue of a commercial fishing crew aboard an 80 foot scalloper on fire off Montauk, New York, the massive effort to save a 180 foot freighter on fire in the Florida Straits, saving the Cutter Gallatin after a fire broke out in dry dock, and extinguishing flames aboard the Polar Star during a voyage to the Antarctic. He also tells of operations at McMurdo Station, serving as an arctic pilot during the tow of a disabled 400 foot cargo ship from the Southern Ocean to New Zealand, migrant interdictions in the South Pacific, and commanding an IMARV on the Potomac in the aftermath of 9/11, a station, and an 87 foot cutter as an enlisted Boatswain’s Mate and Officer in Charge. --- Support this podcast:
Former ME2 Zach Snavely talks surviving recruit training with Phil after both enlisted in West Virginia, striking Boatswain’s Mate, service as a coxswain on the northern border at Station Niagara, how the loss of a boat crew created a lasting culture of ownership, a faint cry for help that led to a lifesaving case, running Deck Force aboard Cutter Bear, major swells during a crossing of the Atlantic, switching rates to Maritime Enforcement Specialist, and counter terrorism with the Maritime Security Response Team (MSRT) as a shooter, breacher, comms officer, and medic. He also talks his transition to the State Department and current work with the Arcuri Group. Learn more about Zach and sign up for his webinar series at - Learn about his new 14K foot peak initiative at --- Support this podcast:
Part I. Retired Chief Aviation Survival Technician (ASTC) Claude Morrissey talks his first case as a rescue swimmer, saving fishermen washed from a jetty during Hurricane Claudette, refining his greeting to survivors, flying hundreds of miles into the Atlantic to rescue the crew of a demasted luxury catamaran, earning a rescue swimmer T-shirt, life and death in the Bering Sea, rituals prior to leaving the runway, 60s vs 65s, and starting his own business - Morrissey Stump Grinding and Tree Service in Camden, North Carolina. --- Support this podcast:
Former Quartermaster Chris Campbell talks being recalled to the CGC Sedge in the midst of a violent winter storm in an effort to save the crew of a foundering fishing vessel off the Alaskan coast, the effort to clear ice and keep the cutter afloat, an inspiring speech from his CO explaining why Coast Guard crews have to go out, ATON, mailing beards to Washington after facial hair was outlawed by the uniform regs, lasting leadership lessons from a BM3 in charge of Deck Force, simulated liberty, patrolling the Florida Keys aboard CGC Thetis, QM ‘A’ School and pre-GPS navigation, and quelling a near riot of migrants detained on deck. --- Support this podcast:
Chief Boatswains Mate Steve Denning (Ret.) talks the nighttime race to rescue nineteen people, fourteen of them children, from a capsized boat at the entrance to the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, the struggle to conduct a search beneath an overturned hull, commanding a Coast Guard station as its Officer in Charge, rescuing and repatriating dozens of Haitian migrants after weeks at sea, breaking in coxswain at Station Barnegat Light and signing his letter as the crew runs to the sound of a SAR alarm, lessons in boat handling and seamanship from a Surfman mentor at Tillamook Bay, balancing risk to a boat crews with the demands of missions at sea, stopping a boat in a high speed and uncontrolled spin in one of his first cases, crewing black hulls and working CG-6P lanterns, deploying for counter drug patrols on more than forty naval ships with PACTACLET, managing the demands of family with those of military service, applying officer discretion during a boarding that didn’t feel right, meeting Davey Jones and Neptune’s court at the equator, and intercepting arms, munitions, and suspected mercenaries aboard a boat bound for South America. --- Support this podcast:
Former AMT and HH60 Flight Mechanic Alex Mangum talks a massive effort to save three commercial fishermen after their boat grounded in a remote Alaskan Bay during the worst storm many at the airstation had ever experienced, his first case as a flight mechanic and its textbook MEDEVAC from the deck of a cruise ship, training to perform helicopter hoists in the severe weather, how operational crews deal with incidents that truly shake them, staring in the inaugural episode of Coast Guard Alaska, and how the benefits gained through service helped him to achieve his post Coast Guard career goals. --- Support this podcast:
Former Engineman Rick Kunz talks life and service on Lake Ontario’s Galloo Island where the Coast Guard maintained both a station and a lighthouse, four decades of uniform, grooming, and protective equipment advances at Station Oswego, ranking the coasts on a scale of painful seas, picking the right boat for the right weather, taking a 30 footer with him as he left the service, and how the Coast Guard Auxiliary offers boat owners, pilots, and other volunteers a chance to make a difference. --- Support this podcast:
Retired Maritime Enforcement Specialist ‘Thunder’ Dan Merrick talks standing up Maritme Safety and Security Teams (MSST) in the aftermath of 9/11, securing the Persian Gulf aboard CGC Monomoy, deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan with the Redeployment Assistance and Inspection Detachment (RAID), and training the navies and coastguards of the world with the Mobile Training Branch. --- Support this podcast:
Senior Chief Radioman Mike Kreynus (Ret.) talks a lasting lesson in leadership and open door policy from the CO of the CGC Comanche, his time as a plain clothes Coast Guard Intelligence agent, being Chief of the Boat for the last of the screaming sea captains aboard CGC Boutwell, running a west coast command center, the founding of the Chief Petty Officer’s Association, and his thoughts on the practices of the greatest leaders. --- Support this podcast:
21st Commandant of the Coast Guard and former Acting Secretary of the Department is Homeland Security James Loy talks a lesson in leadership early in his career during a dangerous maneuver in heavy seas, commanding patrol boats on the Virginia coast and in wartime Vietnam, delivering a baby on the flight deck of an underway cutter, ending the pursuit of a drug trafficker with a well aimed fire hose, leading the service on 9/11, how flags and Commandants make decisions with servicewide and national impacts, and his experiences leading at the highest levels of government. After you listen, read Admiral Loy’s books, “Character in Action: The US Coast Guard on Leadership” and “The Architecture of Leadership: Preparation Equals Performance” --- Support this podcast:
CDR Gary Thomas (Ret.) talks deploying into heavy seas as a cutter swimmer to rescue a man overboard, commanding a Key West patrol boat during the tragic sinking of a Haitian ferry, working to support LORANimals, and how these events illustrate the servicewide impacts individuals can have in the Coast Guard. He also discusses his work with the National Coast Guard Museum Association and the Association for Rescue at Sea, both partners of They Had to Go Out Podcast. --- Support this podcast:
Captain Martha Kotite (Ret.) talks the attempted takeover of a cutter by a group of migrants detained on board, serving as the XO of a Key West patrol boat, flying in style aboard the Commandant’s Gulfstream, and high level public affairs efforts during a series of defining events for the service. Learn more about Martha, book her for a speaking event, and read “So Others May Live”, “Changing the Rules of Engagement”, and “My Name is Old Glory” at --- Support this podcast:
Retired Aviation Electronics Technician (AET) Gina Panuzzi talks a decade of service in Coast Guard aviation, the crash of CG-6028 in the Utah mountains that nearly claimed her life, and her road to recovery in the aftermath. --- Support this podcast:
Former AET2 Todd Ebner talks his decade of service in Coast Guard aviation, locating 17 survivors of a fishing trip gone wrong off the Alaskan coast, transporting a dead whale in the cargo hold of a C-130, tracking Russian and Chinese poachers, taking down a corrupt government official in American Samoa, rights of passage at ‘A’ School in E City, and coping with the loss of so many who have died in the line of duty. --- Support this podcast:
Francois Michaud, the Chief Instructor for Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue (RCM SAR), talks his decade of service onboard the ships and lifeboats of the Canadian Coast Guard, a long and harrowing day of MEDEVACs from a fishing fleet caught in a storm, training coxswains to lead boat crews on emergency calls, and the most important lessons he works to pass on to volunteer lifesavers. --- Support this podcast:
Senior Chief Machinery Technician Tina Claflin (Ret.) talks towing a sailboat through high surf, sailing aboard the tall ship Eagle, Strike Team CBR call outs for everything from a tire fire in Ohio to a burning train in a submerged tunnel, and the Centennial of Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers. Her company @halcyonreflections is producing a commemorative CPO Logbook now available for preorder at . --- Support this podcast:
Comments (1)

Lamont Nelson

Thank you for this podcast. I'm just a fisherman but love all things nautical.

Feb 19th
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