U.S. Coast Guard Awards



Awarded 25 April 1936

Official citation not on file.

Further details:

On March 24, 1935, the lookout at Point Adams Station reported a trolling vessel in distress of the South Jetty of the Columbia River.  The lifeboat made an attempt to render assistance from the sea but was forced to return to the station because of severe weather conditions then existing.  In the meantime, MoMM1c (L) James A. Conley, accompanied by Surfmen Lynn M. Clapp, Burton L. Shatto and Theodore T. Tibbitts, left the station in a private automobile and proceeded to Fort Stevens where they arranged for transportation to the South Jetty by means of a gasoline railroad speeder belonging to the U.S. Engineers.  The subsequent happenings are described in the following excerpts from affidavits of eye-witnesses:

"A speeder was in readiness upon arrival of the Coast Guard, and shortly afterward the crew was at the scene of the wreck. . .A southwest storm was on.  The wind velocity was about 65 miles per hour and a high surf was running.  The sea was breaking as far out as we could see. The trolling boat was in the break and rapidly drifting shoreward.  Every sea seemed to be breaking over her and finally she listed over until her masts seemed to touch the water, and she failed to right herself. Almost immediately a mass of wreckage appeared where I last saw her.  Lynn Clapp donned his life jacket and a light line was made fast around his waist.  With no hesitance he plunged into the surf, wading as far as possible and then swimming through the high breakers until he reached the man in distress.  After he first reached the man one high breaker tore them apart, but he again reached him and with the aid of the line he brought him safely to the beach.  The rescue party was well organized; there were no delays; no wrangling as to what was to be done or how it should be done. . .It required a man of exceptional strength and swimming ability to battle the high surf, and a man of plenty of 'guts' to attempt the feat.  Lynn Clapp proved that he had both."

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Last Modified 10/23/2014