Lending a Helping Hand?

By Bob Comstock

The White Cuttermen always thought there was a reason that some Coasties wanted to remain Sand Pepes. The truth is finally out........................


This story is about an incident that occurred during my early Coast Guard days, when I was very young and innocent, although my wife Ruth says I was never innocent.

In the summer of 1952, while assigned to port security work in New York harbor running 40-footers, we often had the pleasant duty of taking airline stewardesses out into the ocean for ditching drills, an annual training requirement for those who flew on international flights. Because they would be in the life rafts all day long while they became familiar with the location and use of survival equipment, they wore bathing suits. At the end of their training, they would swim back to the 40-footer and climb aboard.

One of the stewardesses, who was well-endowed, tried to climb into the boat and wouldn’t accept help. While doing so, both of the straps on her top broke and out flopped the contents of every sailor’s dreams.

Standing on the boat box at the stern of the boat, I stepped off to lend a helping hand to the damsel in distress, but for some reason I wasn’t watching what I was doing and stepped into a bucket of water! To complete the show, I fell down, really making an ass of myself.

The Boatswains Mate was a family friend and couldn’t wait to get home to tell my wife that I had something to tell her. I rather sheepishly made a clean breast of the embarrassing incident. This has been a family joke for 46 years.

Today I wonder what I could have done to help the stewardess . . . maybe two helping hands?


From Coast Guard Stories by Don Gardner a soon to be published book. Posted here with permission.


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