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U.S. Coast Guard Awards


John F. McCormick

Awarded 7 November 1938


On 26 March 1938 the US Coast Guard motor lifeboat Triumph departed from the Point Adams Station, located near Hammond, OR at the mouth of the Columbia River. It proceeded out to the bar and stood by while several crab boats crossed in. The tug Tyee with a barge load of logs in tow was attempting to cross out. Tyee passed too close to the life buoy and the barge drifted into the outer break on Clatsop Spit. Triumph, while attempting to assist Tyee, lost Surfman Richard O. Bracken overboard in the breakers of Clatsop Spit. Bracken would have been drowned had it not been for the skill of BN (L) John F. McCormick, Officer-in-Charge of Triumph, and the cooperation of the crew, namely CMOMM (L) Albert L. Olsen and Surfman Harold W. Lawrence.

In making the rescue, Triumph was carried broadside on the face of a wave a distance of approximately 50 yards. The masts had been completely submerged, then the boat righted itself. Bracken had been washed overboard by the force of the sea. McCormick acting with exceptional skill maneuvered Triumph against the strong current, into the breakers and picked up the drowning man. Olsen remained in the engine room during all these maneuvers, stayed at the controls under perilous conditions, and rendered commendable service.

It is considered that Lawrence’s services also were equally meritorious.

[NOTE: CMOMM (L) Albert L. Olsen and and Surfman Harold W. Lawrence were awarded Silver Lifesaving Medals for their actions during this rescue.]


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Last Modified 11/17/2014