Taking a break from catching narco subs and flexing against Chinese trawlers, a Coast Guard Cutter stopped for a little swim call morale boost and had to fight off a grey suit.
The event, captured on video "somewhere in the Pacific," occurred last week on the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756), one of the service's largest and most modern vessels. Based on Honolulu, Kimball regularly gets underway and on lengthy patrols and was taking advantage of a clear horizon to turn the cutter's topside into a "steel beach" and get some recreation in.
"After completing our operations for the day, there were no vessels around for miles, the weather was perfect, and we were a zillion miles from land," says the cutter's social media. "We had not been off the ship for weeks, were at that point where every day feels like 'Groundhog Day,' and were looking for something to break up the monotony."
It was perfect!
Bridge personnel reported "Shark!" over the radio.
As if right out of a Hollywood movie, a 6-8 foot shark (no exaggeration) surfaced at the Rescue Door and was swimming toward 30-40 people in the water about 30 feet away. Everyone on the Flight Deck had a bird's eye view. A review of video shot by a crew member reveals it was likely a Long-Fin Mako or Pelagic Thresher Shark - not something to mess with!
ME1 [Maritime Enforcement Petty Officer 1st Class Samuel] Cintron, our shark watch, was on the Flight Deck and immediately locked on target...literally!
The video of the incident shows the 5.56 rounds coming in close to the swimmers in the water, and would certainly make an RSO eat his earpro, but it's not every day a shark comes sniffing around your shipmates.
In the end, the cutter's embarked 35-foot long-range interceptor boat retrieved most of the swimmers from the water while others scrambled up the Jacob's ladder back to the cutter.
Only one coastie was injured-- by a scrape while climbing back aboard-- and even the shark reportedly cruised away with no injuries. The latter isn't that surprising as bullets rapidly lose their umpf when hitting the water (don't fire at water kids, thar be ricochets in those waves.)
"We have hundreds of years at sea between all of us and no one has seen or heard of a shark actually showing up during a swim call," said Kimball's social media. "This goes to show why we prepare for any and everything. We just didn’t think it would be a swim call shark attack!"
The crew took it in stride and later reportedly asked to see “JAWS” followed by “Sharknado” for movie night on the flight deck later that night.
Speaking of JAWS, everyone knows you go after a man-eater with an M1 Garand, after all.