Kevin Pappin, Coast Guard Veteran

Scheduler, American Medical Response, Portland, OR

During his freshman and sophomore years in high school, Kevin Pappin spent his summers fishing for salmon commercially with his father out of Newport, Ore. Every day, six days a week, they would pass the local Coast Guard station, and Pappin would see the Guard’s sleek 44-foot Self-Righting Motor Lifeboat. He fell in love with that vessel. During his senior year, he enlisted and went to Coast Guard boot camp in September of 1976.

After completing his training, Pappin was stationed on a 378-foot High-Endurance Cutter out of Boston, later providing base security there. He also served in roles in the Coast Guard District mailroom and the Auxiliary Print Shop. After four years of active service, and now married, Pappin decided to leave the Coast Guard and pursue a civilian career. He’s been with American Medical Response since 2003, scheduling full- and part-time paramedics in Multnomah County, Ore.

While claiming that his military life seems a hundred years ago, Pappin still finds comparisons between his civilian and Coast guard roles. “I like being able to help people,” he said. “Placing paramedics so they can save lives means a lot to me. A year after I began at AMR, I went to school and became an EMT, myself, so that I could fill shifts on the weekends.”

Rank Attained

Pappin earned the Coast Guard rank of E-3 or Seaman. The duties performed by seamen include ship maintenance, equipment maintenance, repair, and storage for underway operations, lookout and helmsmen duties.

Areas Served

Besides Boston, Pappin traveled up and down the eastern seaboard. In January 1977 and January 1978, his Cutter steamed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for war games with the Navy.

Most Interesting Military Experience

For Pappin, two Coast Guard experiences come to mind. “Off the coast of Cape Hatteras in a big storm, I was standing on the flying bridge (the equivalent of standing on top of a six-story building), and the cutter was riding the swells. At one point we were at the top of the swell, and you could see forever. The next moment we were at the bottom of the swell, and when I looked up all I could see was water. It was exciting and terrifying, at the same time.”