ISS3 2018

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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Jay Perdue, pilot blimp pilot, Goodyear LT, Sector Miami prevention department Fun fact: in the history of flight, there's been more trained astronauts than blimp pilots. As one of less than a dozen Goodyear pilots nationwide, Jay Perdue has a rare skill. This self-proclaimed 'perpetual student' has always had an intense thirst for knowledge. That drive propelled him to become, among other things, a certified welder, an EMT, a scientist and a pilot. "Welding is nothing but manipulating the chemistry of the metallic elements… beautiful," said Perdue, a jack-of-all-trades. "I made some tables, a bouquet of flowers for my wife that won't die, and became overall repair man in the neighborhood." Perdue grew up, like so many other Coast Guardsmen, in South Florida, and he'd wanted to be a pilot since he was 10. He remembered seeing the famed airship fly over his schoolyard playground and watching its graceful flight without realizing his classmates had returned to class without him. In college, he began pursuing the physics of flying while simultaneously working his way up to a masters in pharmaceutical chemistry. Even after taking a job as a scientist doing research and development for GlaxoSmithKline, Perdue continued to spend his early mornings in a news chopper and his nights teaching others to fly. He continued to add ratings to his license, learning how to fly seaplanes, commercial aircraft, and using instruments only. "It's one of those things where I get bored quick," said Perdue. It was around that time that he began to look for a way to give back to his country, and he chose to become a reserve Coast Guard officer in 2010. "I always thought that the Coast Guard's mission was above all others," said Perdue, "and the history of saving lives is exceptional." Oddly enough, he didn't choose the flight community or the SAR dogs—the scientist in him won out, and he entered the marine safety field. "There's a science to prevention," said Perdue. "[The idea of] stopping things from happening before there's a response—that's what got me excited." Perdue works as a prevention officer at Coast Guard Sector Miami in the inspections branch. There, he trains Sector personnel in both handling pollution cases and conducting facilities inspections. During last year's huge hurricane operation, Perdue put his job on hold for a few days. He became the Coast Guard liaison for the Palm Beach County emergency operations center while the state of Florida rode out Hurricane Irma. 18 RESERVIST � Issue 3 • 2018

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