David Coats completes Navy diving school

Douglas High 2006 graduate David Coats graduated from Navy dive school on Sept. 18.

Carol Coats brought by some information about David and her other two sons, all of whom have distinguished themselves in the Navy.

David is a Navy diver third-class, a rate I didn't know existed until Carol came by on Monday afternoon. Enlisted sailors' rate is the job they're assigned. Third-class is David's rank, the pay equivalent to a corporal in the Army.

Of the 18 recruits in his boot camp company with contracts for diving school, only two graduated with him from the 100-day course.

He attended pre-dive school in Great Lakes, Ill., where his mother said his training included swimming in Lake Michigan and lying in shallow water to do calisthenics.

Carol said anyone wanting to have a look at what diving training is about should check out "Men of Honor" with Cuba Gooding Jr. about the Navy's first black diver.

David is stationed at the diving and salvage unit at Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Wash.

David's not the only Coats doing well in the Navy.

Ensign Tyler Coats is attending Naval Nuclear Power School, learning about nuclear propulsion.

Tyler will be in training for another 18 months, first in school and then working at an actual power plant, before he reports for submarine duty.

He graduated No. 13 in his class from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in May with the only double major in the group.

Son William Coats is attending the Naval Academy Preparatory School, where he's redshirting on the football team as a left tackle.

I had two communications on the desert tortoise story that should be addressed, three if you count one from a certain sports editor.

The first was from an Alpine County resident chiding us for not discussing the legality of owning a desert tortoise and asking how the Hinnant family got their tortoises.

Desert tortoises are a federally protected species and different states have different rules for their ownership.

I grew up in Las Vegas where tortoises were popular pets. While I've never owned one, we had a couple who would crawl out of the desert and come up and eat the lawn.

People Editor Sharlene Irete's mom kept tortoises. This posed a problem when laws began to be passed protecting the reptiles.

You can't let a tortoise go back into the wild once it's been a pet, so that raises an important issue. Nevada law recognizes essentially two species of desert tortoise, captive tortoises and free range tortoises.

Nevada administrative code does not require a license for any tortoise in captivity before Aug. 4, 1989, or for one acquired through the U.S. Fish & Game adoption program.

Like all protected species in Nevada, free range tortoises can't be collected in Nevada without a specific permit.

I received a call from a woman who thought maybe the Hinnants were adopting out their tortoises.

While the babies are cute, desert tortoises can live for a century. That makes them a lifetime commitment.

The Hinnants' tortoises are 20-40 years old, and the family has had them longer than they've had their children.

I'm pretty sure I don't have another century in me, and I'm not ready to commit my heirs to the care and feeding of a reptile until the year 2108.

As to the internal question, "No Joey, you may not have a desert tortoise as an office turtle."

n Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at 782-5121, ext. 215.


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