Coast Guardsman of the Year 2022 – AST2 Joshua Carlson

AST2 Joshua Carlson

Coast Guardsman of the Year 2022 - AST2 Joshua Carlson

In January 2021, Carlson was on duty when an alarm went off regarding a disabled panga boat more than 100 miles offshore. Carlson’s team was initially diverted to another emergency, but later arrived on the scene to provide overwatch for the disabled vessel in the event something went wrong while awaiting approval from the chain of command to accept the mission.

Carlson dropped into the water and swam to the vessel where he found 21 people “under the influence of panic.” All but one were outfitted with lifejackets. The plan was for Carlson to swim with each of them individually so they could be hoisted in a basket up into the helicopter.

“Between each person, I would swim back to the boat, and it was like over 300 yards in heavy surf,” Carlson said. “I came back to the boat after three of them, I was like, ‘Oh no, like, this is not swimming in a pool. This is extremely exhausting.’ ”

This heroic feat is why the Military Times Foundation selected AST2 Joshua Carlson as the 2022 Coast Guardsman of the Year.

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