ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — The graduation ceremony to Aviation Survival Technician (AST), Class 134-20, is scheduled to graduate the 1,000th Coast Guard rescue swimmer tomorrow Dec. 20, 2019, at 9 a.m., aboard ATTC (Aviation Technical Training Center) at Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
Today’s AST rating, formerly known as the Aviation Survivalman Specialist rating, was officially created when the first class of five Coast Guardsmen graduated the program in 1985. It is one of the Coast Guard’s most physically demanding courses of instruction.
Retired Lt. Cmdr. Steve Ober, the first Coast Guardsman to graduate rescue swimmer training, will be in attendance to meet the 1,000th graduate.
ASTs are highly-conditioned rescue and survival experts, as well as highly capable aviation life support equipment technicians, and are trained to operate in a variety of maritime environments. While serving as rescue swimmers, ASTs are deployed into a myriad of challenging scenarios ranging from hurricanes and cliff rescues to emergency medical evacuations from ships at sea.