Our man was a Coast Guard swimmer in the 1980s. Oh, how the tech has changed.
Playing a duck is not as easy as it sounds -- not when a duck, in rescue swimmer lingo, is a practice victim, and the water, off the southern coast of Alaska, is too damned cold for anything without feathers. But here I am, dangling in a rescue basket 30 feet below the thundering hulk of a Coast Guard HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter with an elite squad of lifesaving commandos 20 feet underfoot. "Everything OK?" yells one after I'm dunked in the drink. "Hell yeah," I shout back. It's all I can muster between mouthfuls of 120-knot rotor blast.