I was recently part of a rescue of some downed F/A-18 pilots south of San Diego. Here is what happened from the point of view of CGC EDISTO: We got the call at around 1045 and made best speed to get to the last known position in about an hour and a half. As soon as we got to the beginning of our search we smelled fuel and saw some scattered debris. About 30 min later we started to hear a whistle and voices and soon came upon the first person. We realized that because of the state he was in bringing him aboard the cutter would not be a good option. We directed the on scene helo over to us to and they deployed the rescue swimmer to cut away his parachute and hoist him into the helo. Soon after a Navy ship on scene located the second guy and he was also hoisted up into the helo. We were very lucky to find these guys at night. I never really knew how hard it is to see things in the water, even as close as 50 yards away. We were definitely happy to help with the rescue, especially since they were fellow servicemen. For all the cadets and candidates: Doing something like this just once makes all the work you put into the Academy worth it. Whenever you feel bogged down by the day to day at the Academy just remember that at the end of the tunnel is the opportunity to be a part of things like this.