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NEWS | March 3, 2015

Coast Guardsman completes 24-hour swim

By Senior Airman Jared Trimarchi Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Lt. Shannon Scaff, U.S. Coast Guard's Maritime Law Enforcement Academy Public Affairs officer and a former helicopter rescue swimmer stationed in Charleston completed a 24-hour swim Feb. 28, 2015 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Pool in Charleston, S.C. He swam to honor a fallen pilot and to raise money for a non-profit organization.

Scaff swam nearly 28 miles in honor of his fallen friend, Coast Guard Lt. Commander Dale Taylor, who lost his life in a helicopter crash with three other Coast Guardsmen Feb. 28, 2012.

"We don't forget our own in the military," said Scaff. "Military members and their families sacrifice each and every day and I take advantage of any opportunity I have to remind folks of those sacrifices."

According to Scaff, he wanted to show Taylor's sons, Evan and Emmett, their dad was a wonderful friend who impacted many lives beyond their own family and is missed daily.

The three other Coast Guardsmen aboard the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter which crashed were: Lt. Junior Grade Thomas Cameron, Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Knight and Chief Petty Officer Fernando Jorge.

Before taking on the 24-hour challenge, Scaff worked with  local marathon swimmer Kathleen Wilson to prepare for the event. Wilson's training regime for Scaff included approximately 93 hours, 108 miles and 3,476 laps in a 50-meter pool, including a 14-hour swim in January to ensure his mind and body could handle a day's worth of swimming.

Wilson put Scaff on a strict diet and to fuel his body during the 24-hour swim. He was given which Gatorade and small snacks with carbohydrates throughout the swim. 

"Shannon is swimming for a noble cause and I'm happy to be here and support him in any way I can," Wilson said.

More than 100 community members showed their support poolside to cheer Scaff on and nearly 75 military members, police officers and swimmers joined him in the water.

The money raised was donated to Operation 300 a charity which hosts adventure camps for children who have lost their parents as a result of military service.