The Heroic Rescue Story of Joshua Carlson

Think about being over 100 miles away from the coast of California within the Pacific Ocean in the midst of the night time, with a low-pressure entrance coming via, and also you’re attempting to swim with an individual in your arms to a basket whereas that particular person is screaming and attempting to hit you each stroke of the best way. That was the precise state of affairs United States Coast Guardsman Joshua Carlson was in whereas attempting to rescue migrants from a stranded boat.

“It was darkish out, rain, wind, chilly, the entire above,” stated Carlson. “They really had different individuals on scene, however from what I perceive, this migrant boat had been on the market for a few days as a result of the engine broke.”

Regardless that the migrants knew they must face authorities for attempting to enter the USA, that was higher than the choice. Nonetheless, the tactic of which they might be rescued wasn’t best for anybody concerned. Carlson was tasked with serving to transport individuals from the disabled boat to a basket that was linked to a helicopter. The individuals on the helicopter would elevate the particular person within the basket to the boat, then they might drop it again all the way down to the water. Rinse and repeat.


Joshua Carlson had been on this place earlier than, having rescued six individuals in one other state of affairs. He admitted that case rocked him, however in the long run, it helped put together him for the subsequent one. This one concerned extra individuals and extra extreme climate, however he felt he was prepared.

“My adrenaline was going, and I used to be feeling good about the place I used to be at,” he shared. Then, he had to assist his first particular person, who didn’t wish to go within the water in any respect.

“It was chilly, however I used to be in a dry go well with. These individuals had been in moist garments, and the very last thing they wish to do is bounce proper again within the Pacific. She was 100% noncompliant, she was grabbing me, attempting to tug my masks, screaming, attempting to get away, however I acquired her again to arms’ size. Nonetheless, she was leaning to this point again that her head was going underwater.”

Petty Officer First Class Joshua Carlson would finally get her to the basket so she could possibly be pulled as much as the helicopter. He then realized that on the time, he must repeat that very same feat 20 extra instances. The staff on the helicopter would assist carry him nearer to the boat so he didn’t need to swim the whole method again. He disclosed that just one different put up a significant struggle like the primary particular person did. The others had been somewhat extra cooperative. After Carlson had moved 9 individuals from the boat to the basket, which was a number of yards away, one other staff got here in to alleviate his.

“They had been operating out of house [on the helicopter], they usually wanted to refuel,” stated Carlson. “There was one other crew rested and able to go, however we selfishly had been like ‘that is our case’ as a result of it was so uncommon, particularly in San Diego.”

In the long run, Carlson’s staff had been relieved, and his portion of the rescue was over. Nonetheless, Carlson was within the water for over an hour and a half throughout this rescue. There have been 21 individuals in complete on that boat, however Carlson was personally liable for serving to 9 of these individuals. All 21 could be rescued inside hours of the decision coming in.

“It was 4 within the morning earlier than I acquired residence. It was such a loopy job.”

Courtesy of Joshua Carlson

As intense as that job was, it was precisely what Carlson signed up for. He first joined the Coast Guard in 2013 as a result of he felt the significance of serving his nation after he and his spouse began their household.

“We began fairly younger, and I didn’t wish to throw within the towel of getting an everyday job,” he recalled. “I needed to do one thing that I discovered to be distinctive and difficult.”

Carlson needed to tackle a bodily difficult profession as effectively as a result of he had simply completed taking part in soccer whereas he was in faculty. His grandfather had served within the Army Air Corps, which might later change into the USA Air Pressure, and he has cousins that served in the USA Military. He determined to check out military websites and noticed the Coast Guard web site, which featured helicopter rescues.

“It was so simple as seeing the dude leaping out of the helicopter, and I made a decision that was what I needed to do,” he acknowledged.

Joshua Carlson jumping out of a helicopter into a body of water
Courtesy of Joshua Carlson

Quick ahead to the night time that Joshua Carlson lived such a state of affairs himself, and he feels lucky to have been in that place. Carlson credit his dedication to staying in high form for his means to do what he did that fateful night time. He prepares to coach each single day, although he is aware of a relaxation day is inevitable.

“I’ve three youngsters. That relaxation day goes to search out its method in there someplace,” he stated with amusing.

Carlson shared that he and his co-workers will practice Monday via Friday for round two hours that can embody functional training in addition to power conserving cardio. In addition they do pool work, but it surely isn’t swimming laps on repeat.

“We’re doing 2,000 to three,000 yards, however we’re additionally doing quite a lot of Buddy Tows, we’re doing underwater stuff, we’re doing respiration holds, holding bricks, testing our lung capability, issues like that.”

Carlson and others within the Coast Guard don’t seek for motivation to coach as a result of they think about it part of what they do. Coaching to them is like brushing enamel or taking showers for the typical particular person. That dedication to non-public health excellence will be traced again to his soccer days.

“I took benefit of the amenities. It was a state-of-the-art facility, and it was a Tier One energy and conditioning program. That positively kicked it off for me.”

Whereas the dedication was to a excessive commonplace, he needed to shift his focus when it got here to his present profession. Rescue swimming is a far cry from coaching for the gridiron.

“Soccer will be the least transferable focus to what I do now,” he defined. “That is extra about endurance, and I didn’t know how to swim laps, stroke technique, or something like that.”

Joshua Carlson credit MST Antawn Mark of the Coast Guard for serving to him enhance. Mark would take Carlson to the pool for hours of coaching, which made an enormous distinction for him.

“I took all the things he gave me and that was round me, and I made it work.”

US Coast Guard Joshua Carlson being lifted onto a rescue helicopter
Joshua Carlson

All of that effort and coaching paid off for the Frazier Park, California native when he acquired a name informing him that he was named 2022 Military Times Magazine Coast Guardsman of the Year. He humbly shared that any of the members that would’ve been in the identical place would’ve made the identical effort he did. Nonetheless, his chief, Tyler Holt, felt he was worthy of recognition. So, his title was submitted for nomination by that chief, and Carlson was granted the honour.

“I had no concept that I used to be even up for it as a result of he didn’t inform me,” he stated. “It was a shock as a result of he needed to see if I might get it.”

Joshua Carlson did, and his story was shared throughout quite a few platforms. He even traveled to Washington D.C. due to the honour. On the finish of the day, his story can serve for instance that individuals that will really feel bizarre can do extraordinary issues in the event that they select to be part of the USA Armed Forces.

“It’s such an honor to have the ability to do one thing and achieve one thing that lots of people can’t do, and it’s the one place on the planet that you just’re going to have the chance to do really unimaginable issues,” Carlson stated emphatically. “You possibly can by no means pay for the expertise I simply had. There’s no amount of cash that’s going to purchase that. There’s additionally no amount of cash that may take it away from me.”

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