Coast Guardsman Notches First Rescue

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher EvansonELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – “I knew from day one that I was going to be in aviation,” says Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Humpal, an avionics electrical technician stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City.

On Sunday, Humpal notched the first rescue of his Coast Guard career when he hoisted a 58 year-old boater suffering from chest pains while aboard a 100-foot charter boat nearly 40 miles off the coast of North Carolina.

“I had a streak of standing duty where I had some quiet, quiet nights,” said Humpal. “I have been waiting patiently for my turn”.

Humpal, 24, is a native of La Vista, Neb., and a part of a military family that spans several generations. “Both my brother and brother-in-law are in the Navy, my father was a Marine and both my grandfather’s served”.

Humpal who is also known as “Humpy”, has served in the Coast Guard for five years. Since 2004, he has studied night and day preparing to be a crewmember aboard the HH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopters that dot the North Carolina sky on a daily basis.

“Saving a life is like no other feeling in the world,” said Humpal. “Your not going on a routine [law enforcement] patrol, or training flight but your going out with the intent of saving someone’s life”.

Their is a high probability that more rescues lie in the path of Humpal, but the first rescue is a special one. “Saving someone’s life is the greatest high in the world, I don’t know why anyone does drugs,” he said

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