Watch the Coast Guard shoot at a shark for trying to join a swim call party


Outsiders are often left bewildered if asked to describe the complexities of what the Coast Guard does, at least without offering a gauche “guard the coast” quip.

If anything, the service’s intricate mission now appears even more perplexing after a scene that unfolded last week aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball.

About 40 crew members were enjoying a swim break — replete with an inflatable unicorn named Charles — in the western Pacific when a shark, estimated to be between six to eight feet long, tried to join in the fun.

Do you get a combat action ribbon for a firefight with a shark?

— Observation Post (@MilitaryTimesOP) August 27, 2020

Unfortunately for the oceanic resident, Coast Guard personnel are known to enforce a strict “We prefer to keep our limbs” policy.

So, as the shark neared the crew, Petty Officer 1st Class Samuel Cintron opened fire.

“Fortunately everyone safely cleared the water, and the shark appeared uninjured as it swam away,” a DoD release said.

Everyone except Charlie the inflatable unicorn.

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Toward the end of the video we see a helpless Charles cast aside by a careless crew member, a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter.

One service member then says over the radio that the shark is “heading out by the unicorn.” Another, off camera, implores the rifleman to “sink the unicorn.”

Thankfully, no shots ring out, and the unicorn floats away out of frame.

The Coast Guard has provided no updates on Charles’ whereabouts, but he is believed to have perished so that others might live.

Goodnight, sweet prince.


J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times who was a Marine scout observer from 2004-2008. He ugly cried when the Washington Capitals won the 2018 Stanley Cup.

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