July 26, 2012

American Heroes Day is Aug. 2 at Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station

The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station museum complex will have its annual American Heroes Day on Thursday, August 2, 2012 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on the station grounds in Rodanthe.

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, nationwide, the USLSS’s men responded to more than 178,000 lives in peril from the sea, of which they saved more than 177,000.  This is a startling rate of success of 99.2 percent, while their own loss of life, usually under the worst possible conditions, was less than 1 percent.

In 1915, this service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard whose members 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 U.S. Coast Guard,  Coast Guard Auxiliary, local volunteer fire departments, N.C. Highway Patrol, the local sheriff’s office and police departments, local Emergency Medical Services units and ocean rescue squads,  Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, and perhaps some last-minute surprises. 

Equipment on display and/or in use will include 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.

Any one of the “one-time events’ is worth the price of admission.  The Beach Apparatus Drill, normally done on Thursdays at Chicamacomico during June, July, and August, has long been “the best show on the Outer Banks.” It is one of only two full drills done anywhere in the nation, and the only one performed by volunteers of active-duty U. S. Coast guard personnel. 

.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 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 personal watercraft rescue is another simulation.  There are professionally trained local volunteers who can be on the scene of a water rescue in a dramatically short amount of time. 

And for the flyover at the closing event, a request has been made but at this time it is unconfirmed.  So stick around to the very end for more surprises!

“All of these organizations are heroic to us,” said sitemanager James Charlet. “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.”

American Heroes Day 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 fees are a flat $5 per person.  Children 5 and under are free. Chicamacomico’s seven-acre site will be filled with equipment and displays of the participants, so parking will be across the street. Carpooling is encouraged.

 The Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site is located at milepost 39 Highway 12 in the village of Rodanthe. The GPS coordinates are 35 35’ N, 75 28’ W. 

For additional information, contact the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station at P.O. Box 5, Rodanthe, NC 27968 or by phone at (252) 987-1552, or email [email protected] .  Visit the website at www.chicamacomico.net to learn more about the organization. and see a write-up about previous year’s events.

The Schedule of Events, as of Press Time:

Chicamacomico’s Seventh Annual “American Heroes Day”

2 AUGUST 2012 (Thursday)

 Schedule of Events


10:00    Event Opens (All emergency vehicles: 5 seconds sirens and  5 minutes lights this time, please)

10:30     Opening Ceremonies - Main Stage Area Posting of Colors, United States Coast
Guard Sector North Carolina, Nags Head Field Office.

Welcoming Remarks: James Charlet, Chicamacomico Historic Site Manager.
    -Browsing time for exhibits, displays, tables and talking with participants
12:00    S.S. Mirlo Rescue Story &  “Chicamacomico Songs” by Singer John Golden
Ramp of 1874 Life-Saving Station

1:00     Beach Apparatus Drill Starts at 1874 Station   
           (Team USCG Motor Lifeboat Station Oregon Inlet)
2:00     Water Rescue Demo (Chicamacomico Banks FD Water Rescue Unit)
On the Beach

3:00      Military Flyover requested but unconfirmed at press time.


Hot dogs, chips & sodas, for sale!

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’s Office- 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

Salvo Volunteer Fire Department – static display and inspection of company fire engine

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!!

Outer Banks Lighthouse Society displays and literature

Tables, displays, handouts, and conversations with Participants.

 Comments are always welcomed!

     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.