Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Celebrates American Heroes Day

Posted By on July 29, 2013

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Museum Complex will be holding its 8th annual “American Heroes Day” this Thursday, August 1, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island (Milepost 39 ½ NC Hwy 12).

The U.S. Coast Guard Beach Apparatus Drill is just one of the many events in the 8th Annual “American Heroes Day” put on by the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum in the village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island, the only place in the world where the full drill, including the live-firing of a black powder mortar as seen here, is performed by an all-volunteer team of active-duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel. (photo: James Charlet)

The U.S. Coast Guard Beach Apparatus Drill is just one of the many events in the 8th Annual “American Heroes Day” put on by the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site & Museum in the village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island, the only place in the world where the full drill, including the live-firing of a black powder mortar as seen here, is performed by an all-volunteer team of active-duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel. (photo: James Charlet)

Chicamacomico was part of the United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS) and was the first station built in North Carolina.  The original station, dating from 1874, is still on the site as one of eight buildings belonging to the Chicamacomico Historical Association.  The men of the United States Life-Saving Service (1871-1915) were the original rescue heroes, the “storm warriors” who made dramatic and heroic rescues of shipwreck victims whose lives were in peril from the sea. In their history, nation-wide, the USLSS’s men responded to over 178,000 lives in peril from the sea, of which they saved over 177,000!  This is a startling rate of success of 99.2%, while their own loss of life, usually under the worst possible conditions, was less than one per cent!  Heroes indeed.  In 1915, this service merged with the US Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard who routinely continues this tradition of heroism.

With that inspiration, Chicamacomico decided to honor and celebrate true American heroes of the past and the present.  Participants invited include the US Coast Guard,  Coast Guard Auxiliary, local volunteer fire departments, NC State Highway Patrol, local sheriff and police departments, local EMS units and Ocean Rescue squads,  Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, and perhaps some last-minute surprises.  Equipment on display and/or in use includes fire engines, ambulances, police cars, Coast Guard rescue boats, and others. There will be numerous displays, demonstrations, and exhibits as well as hands-on activities and participation events. See Schedule of Events on the Station’s website for forthcoming details. 

The popular Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demo from Air Station Elizabeth City and Motor Lifeboat Station Oregon Inlet has disappointingly been cancelled due to the federal government’s sequester.

The personal water craft (PWC) water rescue is another dramatic simulation.  There are professionally trained local volunteers who can be on the scene of a water rescue in a dramatically short amount of time.

The Beach Apparatus Drill is a historic reenactment of a rescue method used by the U.S. Life-Saving Service.  It involves a large two-wheeled cart filled with life saving equipment or “apparatus”, the firing a projectile with a  black-powder cannon to get lines to a stricken ship (the “wreck pole” in the drill simulates the mast of a ship) and then sending out equipment to save the lives of those on board, one soul at a time.

The Beach Apparatus Drill, commonly referred to as the Breaches Buoy Reenactment, has long been Chicamacomico’s most popular program.  Chicamacomico is the only place in the nation to do the full Drill reenactment on a regular basis! And to top it off, the Drill Teams are all volunteers of active-duty US Coast Guard personnel. It is performed every Thursday at 2pm during the summer (June, July and August).  

And for the flyover at the closing event, at this time it is unconfirmed.  So stick around to the very end for more surprises!

All of these organizations are heroic to us. Some are obvious by saving lives, but others are saving history nature, or culture.  All selflessly serve the public like the Life-Saving Service did.  And, unfortunately also like the Life-Saving Service, do not always get the public recognition they deserve.

So, American Heroes of today, the Heroes of the Past salute you.  Many thanks for carrying on such an essential and positive time-honored tradition.

This is a fund-raising event for the non-profit 501c3 Chicamacomico Historical Association so that it may continue these kinds of events and keep the history of heroes alive. Admission is only $5/person (regardless of age) for all this!

You can check out the complete schedule of events for Chicamicomico’s 8th Annual American Heroes Day below! 

ONE-TIME EVENTS

Time     Event                                                                                                                Location

10:00   Event Opens (All emergency vehicles: sirens 10 seconds, flashing lights as long as you want!)

10:30   Opening Ceremonies – Main Stage Area

Posting of Colors, United States Coast Guard Color Guard, Sector North Carolina

Welcoming Remarks: James Charlet, Chicamacomico Historic Site Manager

            -Browsing time for exhibits, displays, tables and talking with Special Guests

12:00   S.S. Mirlo Rescue Story (the most highly awarded maritime rescue in all of American history, happened right here)                                                                                  Ramp of 1874 Station

 1:00    Water Rescue Demo (Chicamacomico Banks VFD Water Rescue Unit) – On the Beach

2:00     Beach Apparatus Drill – Starts at 1874 Station (Teams USCG Motor Lifeboat Station Oregon Inlet & Station Hatteras Inlet)

3:00      Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue Demo – On the Beach

            FINALE: Mystery Military Flyover?

ON-GOING EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE DAY

  • Hot dogs, chips & sodas, for sale!(at the Salvo Volunteer Fire Truck)
  • US Coast Guard Station Oregon Inlet- static display of 25 foot response boat & tow truck
  • US Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet- interactive demonstration of fixing vessel water leaks
  • Chicamacomico Banks Volunteer Fire Dept & Water Rescue Unit- static display and inspection of ladder truck and jet-ski, and tow truck.  See demo above.
  • Dare County Sheriff Department- live demos of K9 Officer and dog, static displays and inspection of patrol car and 5 ton “storm truck”
  • Dare County Emergency Medical Services –static display of EMS ambulance and equipment
  • Kill Devil Hills Ocean Rescue Unit – static display of truck and lifeguard equipment; live demo
  • Salvo Volunteer Fire Department – static display and inspection of company fire engine; lunch!
  • North Carolina Highway Patrol – static display and inspection of SUV Patrol vehicle.
  • Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative Bucket Truck-climb in trucks, try on lineman gear, ride way up in the bucket!!
  • Tables, displays, handouts, and conversations with – Interaction with Special Guests, local Coast Guard Auxiliary units, Dare County Emergency Management, Outer Banks Lighthouse Society.

_______________________________

Like us on Facebook!

Posted by Matt Artz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *