Reservist

ISS3 2012

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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Reviews A Day in the Life of California Coasties "Guardians of the Gates: the Surfboats," produced and directed last year by David Wittkower, explores the daily life and r esp on sib il it ies of being a Coast Guardsman in one of the nineteen designated surf stations. Filming takes place at Coast Guard station Golden Gate located in Sausalito, California. The film is a great testament to the most fundamental beliefs of the Coast Guard, attributed to the cinematography and editing as well as participating Coast Guard personnel, and is relatable to civilians and non-Coast Guard viewers. Images of daily life Introductions of crewmates and their hometowns, far and wide, personalized their stories. Rather than indistinguishable people who wore the same uniform and spoke the same jargon, they are individuals with unique names, origins, motivations for joining the Coast Guard, and with opinions and experiences to share. The Coasties describe their camaraderie in terms of their trust and respect in the bonds that they shared. As one member said, they all have "two families, [a] family at home and [another] family at work." Even those rescued remained authentic, as most wind surfers pulled out of the water expressed a mixture of embarrassment as well as gratitude. Another key attribute of the film is its accessibility. Being a Release Date April 15th, 2012 Genre Studio tions Documentary Lighthouse Produc- Directed By David Wittkower in California, such as Coast Guard vessels amid brilliant sunsets and seagull flocks, draw the viewer into the film's opening scenes. Although there is a variation of activities and scenes portrayed in the montage, the theme is established as water-centric from the beginning. One of the most impressive scenes in the film occurs during filming at dusk on the water, contrasted in others by twenty-foot waves and the involvement of rescue helicopters. The different times of day and conditions reflect the versatility and reliability of the Coast Guard. The Surfman's Creed quote displayed on the screen at the beginning of the film exemplifies this mentality: "I will ensure that my superiors rest easy with the knowledge that I am on the Helm, no matter what the conditions." The cinematography and editing remain effective throughout For screenings or to buy a copy of the film please visit: www.facebook.com/pages/ Guardians-of-the-Gates-The-Surf- boats/419374321413189 the entirety of the film. Diverse camera angles allow for different points of view and attention-grabbing variation. A frequently utilized angle consists of the camera being submerged justbelow the water's surface, usually with a Coast Guard lifeboat in sight. The water seems much rougher at eye-level, and the sound of the gurgling, lapping water seems to simulate the perspective of a victim overboard and in need of rescuing. The cameraman did not directly interact or communicate with the crew on camera. This helped to preserve authenticity and solidified the realism of the rescues. In this respect, narration was necessary, and radio chatter provided background information through authentic medium. The film furthered the theme of authenticity through its interaction with Coast Guard personnel and rescued victims. 46 RESERVIST ᕇ *TTVF t civilian with only a rudimentary understanding of Coast Guard functions, I found the film very easy to follow and understand. From explanations of positions while on duty, and boats and technology, to the importance of hand signals, "sounding off" (making sure to yell loud enough so that the entire crew hears all calls and orders made) and the definition of the coxswain (the driver of the boat), the film can be enjoyed by a viewer with any level of knowledge. Jack McGrath, a historian from the Coast Guard Heritage Museum in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, provides a relevant spattering of Coast Guard history, complete with old photos to supplement explanations. Smaller segments allow for elaboration on more specific events, such as the mandatory pepper-spraying of all crew members. As a seaman's eyes water and burn after being sprayed, he struggles to hold them open as his crew mates stand by for moral support. These scenes capture the audience's attention while portraying the real-life event truthfully. A surprising aspect of the film has to do with the emphasis on the Coast Guard's role in recovering bodies of those who attempt to or succeed in committing suicide. A fairly routine mission for the Coasties stationed adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge, it proves for an interesting and unexpected, yet respectfully portrayed, twist in the story line. The movie did a tasteful job of depicting the struggles and difficulties of working at this particular Coast Guard station, such as communication difficulties and suicide recoveries, while accompanying these themes with relevant footage and supplementary commentary by the Coasties themselves. Above all, the film does a superb job exemplifying the Coast Guard's ethos. The importance of training and uniformity is stressed because of the need for calculated, automatic responses in order to save lives. McGrath mentions, "You have to go out, you don't have to come back," as the service's unofficial motto from the days when the Coast Guard was called the Lifesaving Service. There is an emphasis on the fact that the Coast Guard is the only service that is non-combative by nature, and has core values that revolve around saving lives, making it different from its DoD counterparts. "Guardians of the Gates" is a great movie to check out, whether you're affiliated with the Coast Guard or looking to learn more about the seafaring service. Authentic and eye-catching, the cinematography and commentary add to the appeal of the film that so respectfully depicts the Coast Guard and those who serve in it. Reviewed by Caroline Acton, CG-1313 Intern Note: his review is published as a convenience to our readers and does not constitute an endorsement by the eserve or Reservist magazineǤ Ǥ Ǥ oast uardǡ oast uard Ǥ Ǥ

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