U.S. Coast Guard Awards
W.F. Halsey, Jr.
Frank D. Warner
Awarded 22 January 1904
During the dark and foggy night of 21 January 1904, the sea was running high. At 11:45 PM the schooner Augustus Hunt struck some 600 yards from shore, midway between the Quogue and Potunk (NY) life-saving stations. About 45 minutes later, a surfman on patrol discovered the casualty and hastened to the Quogue Station. The lifesavers promptly ran to the scene, transporting the surfboat and beach apparatus. After several unsuccessful shots were fired from the Lyle gun, the lifesaving crew then launched the surfboat. They were, however, unable to force it through the drifting wreckage. At 7:00 AM the schooner’s masts fell and several of the crew, who had taken to the rigging, were lost. There were, however, five who still clung to the jib boom. The boom was finally carried away with the loss of three more men. The remaining two men were discovered drifting toward the shore upon some wreckage. A fortunate shot from the Lyle gun carried a line to the hands of one of them. He made it fast and the lifesavers began to haul the wreckage slowly toward the beach.
One of the shipwrecked men, however, took the shot line under his arm and began to pick his way over the rough field of floating debris. He had not proceeded far when a heavy sea knocked him down. He would have perished but for Surfman Halsey. He took a line about his waist and plunged into the breakers. He fought his way to the helpless man and dragged him close to the beach, whereupon other life savers hauled both men to shore. The man remaining upon the wreckage then grasped the shot line and started for shore, but was soon swept beneath the breakers and rendered helpless. Surfman Warner, without even taking a line, rushed into the surf, made his way to the perishing sailor, and brought him to land.
In forwarding these medals the Department, in both cases, made use of the following language:
Your conduct was most highly courageous and commendable. You voluntarily jeopardized your life by assuming an undertaking of extreme peril, where no keeper would have ordered you to go, and in so doing performed an act that could have been dictated only by an extraordinary sense of duty and humanity. The danger of losing your own life would seem to have been as great, if not greater, than the probability of saving the imperiled sailor.
In recognition of their gallant at the wreck of the schooner Augustus Hunt on 22 January 1904, Surfmen W. F. Halsey, Jr. and Frank D. Warner of the Quogue (NY) Life-Saving Station each received the Gold Lifesaving Medal.