The "world's first flight crew" were the surfmen of the U.S. Lifesaving Stations along the Outer Banks The Wright brothers relied on them as they tested their experimental aircraft (1900-1903). The Life Saving Service's primary job was to guard the welfare of sailors along the treacherous Outer Banks. The Service evolved into the U.S. Coast Guard (1915).
We spent morning in making repairs on tail, and truck for starting At half past one o'clock we put out signal for station men, and started for the hill, which took us about forty minutes. After testing engine, with the help of men (Bob Wescott, John T. Daniels, Tom Beacham, W.S. Dough, and Uncle Benny O'Neal), we took machine 150' uphill and laid track 8? 50' slope.
Orville Wright's Diary. December 14, 1903
The modern U.S. Coast Guard embodies both the spirit of the early Lifesaving Service, and the aviation advancements of the Wright brothers. The Coast Guard's continuing presence in the Albemarle region is an unbroken tradition of heroism. Their motto is: Semper Paratus, "Always Prepared."