MUSCATINE, Iowa – In October Joshua Gaeta, a native of the Muscatine area and Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance Technician First Class, received a Coast Guard Award of Excellence for a recent rescue mission to which he participated. A 15-year Coast Guard veteran, Gaeta has distinguished himself on several occasions and helped rescue many people.
About 15 years ago, while living in Cedar Rapids, Gaeta wasn’t sure which career to pursue. One evening, while watching the first episode of “The Deadliest Catch” with his now wife, he saw the Coast Guard in action and immediately felt intrigued. “The rest was history – I always said I wanted to be on this show,” he recalls.
After joining the Coast Guard, Gaeta was able to do this and more. After completing his basic training in La Push, Washington, and his training as an aircraft maintenance technician in North Carolina, Gaeta obtained his first official internship in Kodiak, Alaska. On site, Gaeta’s unit participated in the filming of the opening cut of “The Deadliest Catch’s”. Gaeta continued to serve in Jacksonville, Florida, where he participated in drug interception missions in Central and South America; Detroit, Michigan; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and now Cape Cod, Massachusetts. During his service, Gaeta also assisted with hurricane rescue and repair efforts. In 2018, he received his first Coast Guard Achievement Award.
In March, Gaeta took part in a mission to help rescue 31 fishermen from Atlantic Destiny, a Canadian fishing vessel that caught fire and began to sink 200 miles from shore in dangerously cold temperatures with strong winds. hurricane. For this mission, Gaeta assisted in the operations on the helicopter, gathering vital information to communicate with the five planes and two ground bases responding to the emergency while others brought the fishermen to safety. Although Gaeta has helped with many rescues, he estimated that missions of this magnitude only take place once every 10 years. For his important role in this rescue, Gaeta won his second Coast Guard Achievement Award, which he received in October.
Reflecting on the experience, Gaeta felt honored to have helped so many people get to safety. “Every time you rescue someone is a pretty special feeling,” he reflected, adding that in all the rescues he had ever performed, he most enjoyed helping loved ones reunite with their families and loved ones. anxious friends.
Looking back on his 15 year career, Gaeta appreciated the chances he had to know the many different people he worked with or rescued with, the chances he had to travel and the experiences outside his country. original. As a native of a small town, he considered “being able to travel to the United States and North and South America and see things that others only read in books or see only in movies,” some highlights of his career apart from helping others in life-threatening situations.
He encourages young people looking for a rewarding career to consider joining the Coast Guard, just as he has. “It’s one of the most rewarding jobs,” he said.