KINGSTON — Tyler Vanderhaden, 18, of Kingston graduated from U.S. Coast Guard Basic Training on Jan. 4, at the Recruit Training Center in Cape May, N.J.
Basic training is eight weeks. Vanderhaden was one of 40 to graduate.
Seaman Vanderhaden received the John W. “Jack” Campbell Physical Fitness Award, one of eight awards presented at the graduation ceremony. The Physical Fitness Award was presented to the recruit who demonstrated the highest level of physical fitness during recruit training.
Hurricane Sandy delayed Vanderhaden’s departure, hitting the shores of New Jersey the same day he was to fly to training from Seattle. The delay pushed him back two weeks, keeping him away during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
Operation Fireside, coordinated by the American Red Cross, placed more than 200 recruits with 45 local host families during the holidays and has been a tradition since 1981 in the Cape May area. The host families open their homes to give recruits a chance to connect with the community, relax in the comfort of a home outside of their training site, and enjoy a home-cooked meal.
Vanderhaden partook in Operation Fireside for Thanksgiving and Christmas and was grateful for the community’s generosity and support.
Growing up a military child, Vanderhaden attended five different high schools, graduating from Kingston High School in June 2012. In spite of numerous previous residences, he considers Kingston home and was happy to get a few days of R&R at home with family and friends before reporting to his new unit in Marathon, Fla.
He is assigned to a busy small-boat station responsible for search and rescue, drug interdiction and migrant interdiction.