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Ferrisburgh man receives U.S. Navy's 'Gold Wings' award

For Petty Officer Matt Viscido of Ferrisburgh, age 21, two years of grueling academic study and physical training in the U.S. Navy's Search and Rescue (SAR) and Sea Air Land (SEAL) air-warfare school has finally paid off. Viscido received his "Gold Wings" Feb. 22 having graduated from the same training program that produces Navy SEALs. He was a 2005 graduate of Vergennes Union High School. Matt will be assigned to the HS14 Squadron at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, aboard the historic aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. Following the aging Kitty Hawk's retirement later this year, Viscido will be aboard the U.S.S. George Washington on its cruise around the Pacific. His stint will last four years. During training, Matt learned all aspects of naval flight operations; he also became an expert in various technical-academic subjects, helicopter operations, SONAR and buoy technology. The young diver was trained to rescue downed pilots, passengers, and SEALs. Only the cream of the Navy's swimmer-diver crop graduate SAR and SEAL training. As part of this training, Matt has plunged from a hovering helicopter into the cold sea at night and experienced long hours of deprivations plus deadly serious prisoner-of-war survival training. For Matt's parents, Al and Elaine Viscido of Ferrisburgh, it's going to be difficult being out of touch with the oldest of their three sons. Al Viscido, an ex-Marine, is the chief financial officer and executive vice president at Foley Services in Rutland. While Al's work and home family life keeps him busy, he manages to maintain close touch with his son on the other side of the world. "At least for now we can keep in touch with Matt via cellular telephone," said Elaine Viscido. "But once he's aboard ship, there's no phone contact just e-mail messaging." "Young Americans like my son Matt are awe inspiring," Al said. "There are a lot of kids just like him who are stepping up and volunteering their service to the country. It makes Elaine and me very proud of what he is doing." (To read more about Matt Visicdo and the U.S. Navy's SAR program, see the Addison Eagle, June 16, 2007, Page 1)

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