It was a good exercise in using their sophisticated technology to spot small objects in the big ocean.
In the air-conditioned pilot house, Kelly also was on a mission to come up with the perfect wake-up song. One suggestion: Good Morning Vietnam.
A HEROS NAME
You know, the guy the ship is named after, Robert Yered, served in Vietnam, Kelly said. He did his battle in Cat Lai in 1968.
All the Fast Response Cutters are being named after enlisted heroes. Robert Yered was chosen for his heroics on Feb. 18, 1968, when the Army terminal in Cat Lai was attacked by enemy rocket, mortar and small arms fire. A barge carrying several hundred tons of mortar ammunition was struck and burst into flames, threatening to destroy three nearby ammunition ships carrying more than 15,000 tons of explosives.
Engineman Yered courageously exposed himself to enemy gunfire as he helped extinguish fires on the burning barge, according to the Coast Guards blog. His bold act averted not only the destruction of his own ship but also that of the entire terminal.
Yered is one of only 12 Coasties to be awarded the Silver Star, and he also was awarded the Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze stars and Purple Heart Medal.
Yered did not know he would be honored in such a big way. He died in 2009 from a heart attack in his home state of Massachusetts. He was 69.
My father was proud and private and never really talked about Vietnam to us, said his daughter, Lori Geddis. I hope he would be proud of this. He was never the kind of person to have the attention on him.
But a lot of people respected my father and I think people will try to live up to his expectations. Even after he left the Coast Guard, he was a groundskeeper at a high school and his fields were perfect.
A FINAL NIGHT
The Robert Yered crew is a proud group, starting with the cook, FS1 Edgar Carrelo, who makes sure every meal is fit for a hard-working bunch: from made-to-order omelets for breakfast to churrasco with mushroom sauce for dinner.
On the last night at sea before reaching Miami Beach, some of the crew watched the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean by enjoying cigars and taking pictures. This is an awesome ship and the crew size is ideal, Stepler said. You can be really close to the crew and get to know everybody their quirks, their likes, their dislikes. Thats one of the fun things of going to sea.
Gil, who graduated from North Miami Beach High School, said the crew is eager to put the training behind them and begin the real missions.
We want to be the first Fast Response Cutter with a drug bust, said Kelly, a father of three from Kissimmee. Even if we see a bale floating, well take it.