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U.S. Coast Guard Awards

Gary A. Openshaw

Awarded on 7 October 1993

For extreme and heroic daring on the afternoon of 18 April 1993 when the merchant vessel Lindy Su lost engine power and capsized in the surf, causing seven people to abandon the vessel and enter the icy cold water.  Petty Officer Openshaw was on liberty, enjoying a day at Baker Beach, San Francisco, with his family, when he witnessed the Lindy Su capsize.  He immediately responded and raced into the dangerous surf and grasped a woman's life jacket.  When his feet slipped out from under him, both were swept into water over their heads.  He calmly regained his footing and pulled the woman to shore.  Entering the surf a second time, he assisted another person to safety.  He then spotted a third person in dire straits near the rocks.  Petty Officer Openshaw grasped the man's life jacket just as a breaking wave slammed them into the rocks.  He stabilized himself and started towards the shore, but another wave hit and forced them against the rocks.  Petty Officer Openshaw persevered and towed the exhausted and weak victim to safety on shore.  He then helped rescue a fourth person and assisted the park rangers in rescuing the last person, who was stranded on a cliff.  Petty Officer Openshaw's determined efforts, outstanding initiative, and fortitude during this rescue were instrumental in saving the lives of five persons.  His unselfish actions and valiant service, despite imminent personal danger, reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service.

Last Modified 1/12/2016