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Publisher's Summary

As a boy growing up in New York City, Kevin P. Gilheany had two dreams: To join the Coast Guard, and to play the bagpipes. But by the time he finished high school he was overweight, had a drinking problem, and couldn’t swim. Undeterred by the doubts of the folks at home, he decided to enlist in the Coast Guard anyway.

With great determination, and some divine intervention, he passed the swim test and graduated from boot camp, thus beginning an eventful and diverse 20-year career in the 1980s and 1990s Coast Guard. He set a goal for himself to get command of his own patrol boat, and along the way he was involved in capturing drug smugglers, rescuing hundreds of Haitian migrants at sea, recovering Space Shuttle Challenger debris, surviving a “hooligan navy” experience on a Coast Guard workboat, coordinating search and rescue during the famed “Perfect Storm”, and leading armed boardings of ships following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

The book is published by University of North Texas Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

©2019 Kevin P. Gilheany (P)2020 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"This is a very well written memoir, personal and honest." (Maine Harbors)

“This is a valuable and well-written Coast Guard memoir.” (C. Douglas Kroll, author of A Coast Guardsman's History of the U.S. Coast Guard

“If you’re looking for an example of how you can achieve your seemingly impossible dreams, then this is the book to read.” (Shep Hyken, author of The Amazement Revolution

What listeners say about Minding the Helm: An Unlikely Career in the U.S. Coast Guard

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good coast guard story

as a Coast guard vet, it was good to hear about his experience within the ranks.

2 people found this helpful

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Great sea stories!

Great sea stories from a full career. Captures all the nuance of a Coast Guard career and culture from the 80s and 90s.

1 person found this helpful