American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"The Guardian" (2006)


Orientation Day Address at the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Survival Training School


Capt. Frank Larson: Out of the 39,000 men and women who make up the United States Coast Guard, there are only 280 rescue swimmers. This is because we are the Coast Guard's elite. We are the best of the best.

When storms shut down entire ports: We go out.

When hurricanes ground the United States Navy: We go out.

And when the Holy Lord Himself reaches down from heaven and destroys his good work with winds that rip houses off the ground: We. Go. Out.

And the attrition rate at this school is well over 50%. So if by some miracle you actually have what it takes to become one of us, then you get to live a life of meager pay with the distinct possibility of dying slow, cold, and alone somewhere in the vast sea.

However, you also get the chance to save lives.

And there is no greater calling in the world than that.

So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Welcome to "A" School. Are there any questions?

Airman Jake Fisher: Captain, Airman Fischer. Just have one question. That guy who holds all them records -- is he still alive?

Capt. Larson: Why do you ask?

Airman Fisher: I just thought you ought to let him know I'm about to knock his name off that board.

Capt. Larson: Really? Well why don't you let him know yourself? He's standing right behind you in the back of the room.

Class, turn around and greet Senior Chief Ben Randall. Senior Chief Randall will be your lead instructor for the next 18 weeks. Senior Chief Randall is one of the most decorated rescue swimmers in the history of the United States Coast Guard.

Ben, would you care to address the class?

Senior Chief Ben Randall: No, I think there's been enough talk for one day.

Capt. Larson: Chief Skinner, they're all yours.

Chief Aviation Survival Technician Jack Skinner: Attention on deck!

Capt. Larson: Carry on.

Chief Skinner: Aye, Captain.

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American Rhetoric.
HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.