Always Ready: The Gaudian Family

This depicts a Coast Guard Mounted Beach Patrol base during WW II. The Coast Guard provided manpower, horsepower and "man's best friend" to guard the coasts of the United States during WW II from feared German invasion via U-Boats.

A Coast Guard Mounted Beach Patrol base during WWII. The Coast Guard provided manpower, horsepower and “man’s best friend” to guard the coasts of the United States during WWII from feared German invasion via U-Boats. Painted by James Dyekman.

The Coast Guard is in his blood. Caleb Gaudian is a few weeks away from shipping to Coast Guard basic training. He won’t have much time in boot camp to ruminate on what brought him here, but his family history is rich with Coast Guard adventure.

After graduating high school, Gaudian went to college but felt restless. He didn’t want to waste any more of his parents’ hard-earned money if he couldn’t decide what to study and why, so he went to his dad, Bryce, and asked him about his service in the Coast Guard.

Marvin Gaudian in his dress uniform during WWII.

Marvin Gaudian in his dress uniform during WWII. Photo provided by the Gaudian family.

Bryce Gaudian told him that it didn’t start with his service, but with his great uncle, Marvin who volunteered in 1942 when World War II was at full bore. Marvin Gaudian served at Cape Hatteras on horseback beach patrols looking for debris and casualties from sunken Nazi U-boats. Amazingly, Bryce Gaudian didn’t know about his uncle’s service in World War II until after his own service ended in 1980. Caleb Gaudian wasn’t so unlucky; he got to hear all about his dad’s exploits in the Coast Guard.

Bryce Gaudian had been a “Morse code fanatic” growing up. One day, while reading a radio enthusiast magazine, he came upon an advertisement for the radioman rate in the Coast Guard, which has now evolved into the operations specialist rate. The rest is history. After graduating first in his “A” school class he had the choice of units at which to serve. He decided to fulfill another dream of his childhood, living in Alaska. He shipped out to Communication Station Kodiak where he reveled in a “fisherman’s paradise,” catching trout and hiking in the mountains while off duty.

Bryce Gaudian in Antarctica at the McMurdo Research Station in the Spring of 1980.

Bryce Gaudian in Antarctica at the McMurdo Research Station in the Spring of 1980. Photo provided by the Gaudian family.

Kodiak was just the first stop as Bryce Gaudian sailed the Pacific between the Arctic and Antarctic, Australia and the Galapagos aboard the icebreaker Polar Sea. The cutter broke the way through an ice shelf for a naval resupply vessel bound for McMurdo Research Station. The crew was granted ice liberty, which was fun until his wisdom teeth ruptured after having passed below the 60-degree latitude. How many people can say they had their wisdom teeth removed in Antarctica? The trip back was better, minus the 50-foot seas. They went to New Zealand for two weeks. They had swim call in the Galapagos trench. While patroling near Hawaii, they rescued a distressed Japanese fishing vessel off of Kingman Reef. The crew of the vessel was so grateful they donated more than 400 pounds of fresh tuna to the Polar Sea. As they were returning from that patrol, Bryce Gaudian could see the ash from Mount St. Helens drifting out over the ocean; it had just erupted.

After hearing the stories about his great uncle and his father, Caleb Gaudian was sold. There was just one problem. He was a 235-pound former all-conference football player. The weight limit for his frame was 197. The recruiter told him to try again after he lost 40 pounds. Undeterred, he lost 50. At a sinewy 187 pounds he strode back into the recruiting office and was accepted for training. Caleb Gaudian already knows how he’d prefer to serve. His goal is to become an Aviation Survival Technician. He’s well aware of the intimidating attrition rates at AST “A” school, but as usual, he’s undeterred.

The Coast Guard will be glad to have him; we take pride in our rich history. Having the Gaudian family legacy continue can only enrich that history; the Gaudian’s embody Semper Paratus.

Caleb Gaudian (left) swears into service at a Military Entrance Processing Station.

Caleb Gaudian, left, swears into service at a military entrance processing station. Photo provided by the Gaudian family.

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  • polly

    We in Neah Bay Washington home of USCG station where he once served will never forget him and his service to our small native american village. Out of the goodness of his heart he went above and beyond here. Out of the gates of the Coast Guard station and into our lives. Not many do that in this remote site. Our village mourned with his family and now we also honor him with our stories to newbies at the station to encourage them to step up as he did. We are proud that he once called our village home.

  • Betsy Buckingham

    Nate was an all-American kind of guy. You felt good knowing him and laughing with him. He believed in god and country and duty. He lived among Makah in our homeland at Neah Bay, Wa as he was serving US Coast Guard Station Neah Bay. He met and married his lovely wife while stationed at Neah Bay.

    He served with honor our Makah as a volunteer firefighter, EMT and local football coach. I can hear his laughter as he served. I see his steely reserve as he spoke of 9/11 event back in his area of the country. He moved on to answer the call of duty for our beloved United States.

    Forever grateful. God bless his family. He is loved at Makah.