Christopher Hale graduated as the honor graduate from the U.S. Coast Guard's Aviation Survival Technician School, in a Nov. 23 ceremony at the Coast Guard Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, N.C. He was promoted to an aviation survival technician third class (AST3), better known as a rescue swimmer. The Coast Guard's equivalent of the military's Special Forces, Hale's class began with 24 students; he and two other classmates graduated. Since the beginning of the Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Program in 1983, there have been only 930 rescue swimmers, retired and active duty; Hale is number 928 in this small, elite force.
A 2011 graduate of Century High School where he played soccer and lacrosse, Hale enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2015. An honor graduate of the Coast Guard's Recruit Training Center, he was first assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter MUNRO in Kodiak, Alaska, where he returned in preparation for his transfer to Coast Guard Air Station Astoria, Ore.