Retired Coast Guard reviews The Finest Hours

Bob Bonville

The Finest Hours – My wife Linda and I saw this movie yesterday. I had hopes of seeing it Friday when it was first released but as things worked out we just couldn’t make the grand debut. While awaiting its release, seeing all the video clips, reading the reviews and knowing the story from my prior research, I was like a kid; couldn’t wait to see it.

This actual event the movie was based on took place just over seven years before I joined the Coast Guard, not much had changed from 1952 to my time. Authenticity in fact was a part of the production I paid particular attention to. Disney, in my opinion, did an absolute marvelous job on the entire production. Casting, historical accuracy, special effects, actor accents, Coast Guard ambiance, New England in the winter and so on.

While viewing the film I admittedly got caught up in it. While never actually being in rescue situations like that shown in the movie myself, I did experience huge storms at sea for days on end in the North Atlantic during Ocean Station Duty on a Cutter in the middle of winter. I know the power of the sea and the absolute importance of knowing how to survive it by falling back on your training and working together with your buddies and following orders.

I experienced a range of emotions during the film; some I hadn’t felt for years. The sense of pride, however, was at moments overwhelming knowing that in a very small way, I was part of a group of men and women that are dedicated to saving life and property at sea and have been for over 225 years. It’s always been said that when we get the call, we have to go out. It doesn’t say we have to come back. In the case of The Finest Hours, they did come back; a wonderful experience I would highly recommend.

Semper Paratus