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“Minding the Helm” Book Signing by Author Kevin Gilheany
July 24 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
MINDING THE HELM: AN UNLIKELY CAREER IN THE U.S. COAST GUARD
KEVIN P. GILHEANY is a retired U.S. Coast Guard
chief warrant officer, professional speaker, consultant,
and founder of the U.S. Coast Guard Pipe Band. He
is a recipient of the U.S. Coast Guard Public Service
As a boy growing up in New York City, Kevin P.
Gilheany had two dreams: to join the Coast Guard
and to play the bagpipes. But by the time he finished
high school he was overweight, had a drinking
problem, and couldn’t swim. Undeterred by the
doubts of the folks at home, he decided to enlist in
the Coast Guard anyway.
With great determination and some divine
intervention, he passed the swim test and graduated
from boot camp, thus beginning an eventful and
diverse twenty-year career in the 1980s and 1990s
Coast Guard. He set a goal for himself to get
command of his own patrol boat, and along the
way he was involved in capturing drug smugglers,
rescuing hundreds of Haitian migrants at sea,
recovering Space Shuttle Challenger debris, surviving
a “hooligan navy” experience on a Coast Guard
workboat, coordinating search and rescue during the
famed “Perfect Storm,” and leading armed boardings
of ships following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
When he was asked by one of his men, who was
dying from brain cancer, to play bagpipes at his
retirement ceremony, Kevin started down a new
path to have bagpipers officially recognized as part
of the Coast Guard. This ultimately led a boy who
couldn’t swim to fulfill both of his childhood dreams
and leave a lasting legacy by founding the U.S. Coast
Guard Pipe Band.
“Anyone interested in Coast Guard history, the Space
Shuttle Challenger disaster, Pipe Bands, or Homeland
Security with incoming foreign commercial vessels would
be interested in this book.”—C. Douglas Kroll, author of
A Coast Guardsman’s History of the U.S. Coast Guard