Peek into Guard life
The Weather Channel chronicles the dangerous search and rescue work of the U.S. Coast Guard with reality series filmed in Florida and Alaska.
A third series focusing on the Coast Guard in the Pacific Northwest premieres tonight, and the commanding officer of the Cape Disappointment Coast Guard station is 1998 Liberty High School graduate Lt. Scott H. McGrew.
McGrew was appointed commanding officer in 2012 and had been on the job for about 6 months when he first was contacted about using the Coast Guard station located near the Oregon-Washington border as the setting for the reality series, which is made by “Today Show” meteorologist Al Roker’s production company.
In a telephone interview, he said he didn’t have any apprehensions about a crew filming there.
“I didn’t have too many concerns,” he said. “You hope the crew adapts to having them on board. You want it to be a comfortable relationship … How is this group of guys coming to film, how will they mesh with the crew?”
Filming started in April 2013, and a camera crew still is at the station collecting footage for the 13 episodes, which will air at 10 p.m. Sundays on the Weather Channel.
McGrew only has seen some rough footage so far and was impressed.
“The feeling that hits me is pride,” he said. “The crew here, how I see them in training is how they execute the mission when they’re out there. You see the pride the crew takes after they make a rescue. I was impressed how, even some of the junior members, how well they do on camera. You can tell they care about what they do.”
McGrew has seen both “Coast Guard Alaska” and “Coast Guard Florida” and said “Coast Guard Cape Disappointment” will have a different look than those shows because the geography of the Pacific Northwest is so unique.
According to the Weather Channel’s website, the Coast Guard at Cape Disappointment is responsible for 420 miles of coastline, 500,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean and 465 miles of rivers. Last year crews at the station performed nearly 700 search and rescue missions, saved 260 lives and assisted 7,000 others.
McGrew used to go fishing on Lake Erie when he was growing up, which influenced his decision to join the Coast Guard during his senior year at Liberty. He left for boot camp shortly after graduation.
“I spent a lot of time on the water,” he said. “I was looking at options, and it seemed like a fun thing to do.”
This is his second stint at Cape Disappointment. It was his last job as an enlisted member when he left in 2006 to go to officer candidate school. He was stationed with the Coast Guard in Cleveland before returning to Cape Disappointment in 2012.
McGrew, his wife and two daughters came back to visit his parents, Dan and Marcia McGrew of Fowler, last June, and he said they’ll probably be back this summer after the girls are out of school.
A few restaurants near the station are planning viewing parties where people can gather to watch the premiere, but McGrew said he plans to watch the show at home with his family and some of the other members of his command and their families.
“One thing people in America will see is the Coast Guard is made up of a great group of individuals who enjoy what they do and take pride in the mission of helping others. When you have a mission of life saving, it’s hard not to like what you do.”