Life-Saving Station will celebrate
Heroes Day and centennial on Aug. 4
Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Museum complex, located at Milepost
39.5 on Highway 12 in Rodanthe will have its sixth annual American
Heroes Day on Thursday, Aug. 4, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the
village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island. It will also be
celebrating two other related events at the same time -- the centennial
of the new replacement 1911 Life-Saving Station and National Coast
Guard Day, which is always Aug. 4.
Chicamacomico was part of the United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS)
and was the first station built in North Carolina. The
station, dating from 1874, is still on the site as one of eight
buildings belonging to the Chicamacomico Historical
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. Nationwide, the USLSS’s men responded to more than 178,000 lives
in peril from the sea, of which they saved over 177,000. This
a startling rate of success of 99.2 percent, while their own loss of
life, usually under the worst possible conditions, was less than one
per cent In 1915, this service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter
Service to form the United States Coast Guard, which routinely
continues this tradition of heroism.
With that inspiration, Chicamacomico decided to honor and celebrate
true American heroes of the past and the present.
invited include the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary,
local volunteer fire departments, local law enforcement agencies, local
EMS units and ocean rescue squads, Cape Hatteras Electric,
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks Lighthouse
and perhaps some last-minute surprises. Equipment on display
and/or in use will include fire engines, ambulances, police cars, Coast
Guard helicopter, rescue boats, and others. There will be numerous
displays, demonstrations, and exhibits as well as hands-on activities
and participation events and live period music.
Any one of the “one-time events’ is worth the price of
The Search and Rescue Demo could be straight from the movie “The
Guardian.” A Coast Guard 47-foot motor life boat will be in
ocean off Chicamacomico’s beach. It plays the role of a
distress with a man overboard. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter
arrives, circles, locates “victim” in the water, hovers, and then a
rescue swimmer jumps from the helo into the ocean. He assists the
victim into the basket and is hoisted into the Jayhawk and then whisked
away to safety. Three different methods are demonstrated.
The personal watercraft water rescue is another simulation.
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 re-enactment 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
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
Re-enactment, has long been Chicamacomico’s most popular
Chicamacomico is only one of two places in the nation to do the full
drill re-enactment on a regular basis. The drill teams are all
volunteers of active-duty U.S. Coast Guard personnel. It is performed
every Thursday at 2 p.m. during June, July and August.
All of these organizations are heroic to us,” say the Chicamacomico
organizers. “Some are obvious by saving lives, but others are saving
history, nature, or culture. All selflessly serve the public
the Life-Saving Service did. And, unfortunately also like the
Life-Saving Service, do not always get the public recognition they .
This is a fundraising 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.
To help celebrate the 1911 station’s centennial, around back there will
be the restorer of the building to give demonstrations and answer
questions. Also there antique gas engines, antique sewing machines, a
genuine original 25-foot shad boat of the time, a barber shop quartet
and sea shanty troubadours will be on site.
Many special guests have been invited. They include
Anthony Popeil, Commander USCG Sector North Carolina; Lt. Commander
Steve Bonn, US Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City and one of the
heroes of the book Rescue Warriors-The U.S. Coast Guard, America’s
Forgotten Heroes (books to be autographed will be available)
BMCS Ron McCready, Officer in Charge, Motor Lifeboat Station Oregon
Inlet; BMCS Chris Wright, OIC MLB Station Hatteras Inlet;
National Park Service Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent
Mike Murray; Joe Schwartzer, Director North Carolina Maritime Museum
System; Warren Judge, Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman;
Virginia Tillet, Dare County Commissioner, and Ken Wenberg, the
Special centennial souvenirs will be available. They include
one-of-a-kind centennial T-shirts, coffee mugs, and art prints. All are
one-time, limited editions that surely will become collector’s items.
6th Annual “American Heroes Day” and the
1911 Life-Saving Station Centennial
Opens (All emergency
vehicles: NO sirens or
lights this time)
10:30 Opening Ceremonies - Main Stage Area
of Colors, United
States Coast Guard
Ceremonial Honor Guard, Alexandria, VA.
Historic Site Manager.
Guest Speaker for the1911
Anthony Popeil, Commander,
USCG Sector North Carolina.
Speaker for the 6th
Annual American Heroes Day:
Director, North Carolina Maritime Museums System
Restorer: Ken Wenberg
-Browsing time for
exhibits, displays, tables and
talking with Special Guests
Rescue Story & Sea Chantey Singer John Golden Ramp of 1874
Apparatus Drill Starts at 1874 Station
Lifeboat Station Oregon Inlet & Station Hatteras Inlet)
Rescue Demo (Chicamacomico
Banks VFD Water
Rescue Unit) On the
USCG Search & Rescue
Demo (SAR), Jayhawk Helicopter & GC 47-foot Lifeboat On
(USCG Air Station Elizabeth
City and USCG
Motor Lifeboat Station Oregon Inlet)
THROUGHOUT THE DAY
*This is a
schedule and subject to change due to the fact that active-duty
emergency personnel and equipment are present and may be called out
before or during the event.
- Hot dogs,
chips & sodas for
- U.S. Coast
Guard Station Oregon Inlet- static
display of 25-foot response boat and tow truck
- U.S. Coast
Guard Station Hatteras Inlet-
interactive demonstration of fixing vessel water leaks
Banks Volunteer Fire Dept & Water Rescue Unit- static display and inspection of ladder truck and
jet-ski, and tow truck. See demo above.
County Sheriff Department-
live demos of K9 Officer and dog, static displays and inspection of
patrol car and 5 ton “storm truck”
County Emergency Medical Services –static display of EMS ambulance and equipment
- Kill Devil
Hills Ocean Rescue Unit –
static display of truck and lifeguard equipment
Volunteer Fire Department –
static display and inspection of company fire engine
Carolina Highway Patrol –
static display and inspection of SUV Patrol vehicle.
Hatteras Electric Cooperative Bucket Truck-climb in trucks, try on lineman gear, ride way up
in the bucket!!
displays, handouts, and conversations with – Interaction with Special
Guests, Dare County
Emergency Management, NPS Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Outer Banks
Centennial Participants- Restorer
Ken Wenberg in the old cookhouse, Period 25-foot shad boat, antique
sewing machines, antique gas engines, pPeriod songs from Sea Notes,
John Golden, and Juliann & Richard
additional information, contact the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station
at 252- 987-1552, or e-mail [email protected] .
Visit the website at www.chicamacomico.net to learn
more about the organization and see
information about other events and offerings