21-year-old Hemet native translates safe passage for sinking vessel amidst Tropical Storm Harvey
■ Kyle Selby / Reporter
TEXAS – On Tuesday, Aug. 29, four people aboard a 42-foot sinking vessel near Aransas Pass were safely rescued thanks to the efforts of Junior Coast Guard member Vincent Resley, 21, who also happens to be a Hemet High School graduate.
According to Petty Officer 3rd Class crew member Resley, he was at the Incident Command Post at Corpus Christi when he received a distress call on his on-duty phone around 9 a.m. central time, from a mariner aboard a sinking shrimp vessel; the caller was speaking broken English.
“He proceeded to let me know he was taking on water,” described Resley. “That’s when I recognized the accent and asked him if he was Vietnamese.”
A video – posted online courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Crystalynn A. Kneen –showed Resley holding one mobile phone to each ear, translating his senior chief’s English instructions at the Coast Guard Command Center from one into Vietnamese through the other.
Growing up with a Vietnamese mother, Resley was able to translate information between the Tropical Storm Harvey victims and his commanding chief. Shortly thereafter, the four mariners were flagged down by a “good Samaritan” aboard a similar vessel near Aransas Pass, who brought all of them on deck. According to Resley, the four individuals were traveling from Houston on their way to Corpus Christi in an attempt to escape the storm.
Resley, a Hemet native all his life, joined the Coast Guard immediately after graduating from Hemet High in 2014. Currently stationed in Corpus Christi, Resley works as an environmental protection and pollution response officer. He’s not sure why or how he received the distress call, but chocks it up to being at the right place at the right time.
“It was just a case of pure luck,” said Resley.
Resley’s superior, Vice Admiral Karl Schultz, later presented Resley with a challenge coin of “excellence” for his outstanding acts of heroism.
“I’m proud of him,” said Resley’s father, Dan, who lives in Hemet. “I’m proud to be his father.”