Two Uniforms, One Devotion to Duty

Coast Guard Auxiliarist George Latimer

Coast Guard Auxiliarist George Latimer

Story by Coast Guard Auxiliarist Trey Clifton

In 1994, only two years after enlisting, then Seamen Stone was transferred to Station Cape Charles where he first met Latimer. While Latimer has bonded closely with many who have come through Station Cape Charles, he shared a special bond with now Chief Stone, as both men served in the law enforcement community.

Prior to serving in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, Latimer served the citizens of New York City for 30 years, retiring as the chief of the New York City Transit Police. It was in 1977 that Latimer retired, got married, then moved to his wife’s hometown of Accomac, Virginia. Having always wanted to be a farmer, he started a poultry farm. “I had never been out of New York City in my life, but I wanted to be a farmer. My soon-to-be father-in-law used to laugh at me because he was a farmer,” Latimer said.

Latimer’s arrival on the Eastern Shore of Virginia ushered in two new chapters in his life, both raising poultry and also serving the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Latimer said, “I realized I’d made a big mistake. Is this all there is? Picking up dead chickens? Then I saw an ad in the paper one day that the Coast Guard was looking for pilots with planes. So, that’s how I got involved [in the Coast Guard Auxiliary].” As Latimer was an aviation enthusiast with both a plane and a pilot’s license, he started his second career as a volunteer pilot. After working his way up and becoming the air-coordinator for the Eastern Shore, Latimer decided to try something different. He purchased a 32-foot boat and transitioned from air to sea.

Stone said Latimer has always played an integral part of Station Cape Charles. “He has always been there for us for training and ready for ops. His boat was always available to do different training – towing, fires, any type of things we needed to train the crews for, and he always had his boat ready,” Stone said.

Having conquered both air and sea, Latimer then took to land, where he still serves today as a watchstander at Station Cape Charles. Now Latimer carries the title of “grandfather of the unit” and even took to having morale parties at his house. “Where else can an 85-year-old find young people willing to have him around? It’s a great feeling.” Latimer said.

As a member of the family, Stone said, “When George needs help around the house, usually it’s one of us around the station who goes.”

Often referring to those who come through Station Cape Charles as his children, Latimer said, “The hardest part of my job here is that I’m the only one with a permanent billet. I watch them come in, bald headed, rigid and scared, and four years later, they swagger out salty as can be. It’s great to see them grow, and I’m proud of them. They’re my family.”

“I’ve been very fortunate overall in having officers in charge who have been fantastic people,” said Latimer. “That’s really a big part of the secret of my success, people like Chief Stone. It’s really a family. Coast Guard Station Cape Charles is a part of my life – a very serious part. I’m proud to be here.”

As generations of Coast Guard men and women serve at Station Cape Charles, Latimer will continue to be an integral part of their professional development and exemplifies the service’s core values of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

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