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U.S. Coast Guard Awards

Marion K. Reynolds

Awarded 2 March 1948

On 2 September 1947, at approximately 12:15 AM, ETM3 Robert T. Gray was washed overboard while the USCGC McCulloch was on North Atlantic Ocean Weather Patrol "Station Charlie."  At this time the sea was rough, there was a strong breeze blowing, and the ship was rolling approximately 30 degrees.  Life rings with lights were immediately thrown over the side but only one lit. Gray sighted and grabbed this lighted life ring at about the time its light went out. Inasmuch as the sea was too rough to lower a boat, the McCulloch was swung beam to the sea and upwind of the spot where Gray was last seen, so as to let the ship drift down upon him and pick him up with men in swim suits. All hands were on the lookout for him.

At 12:45 AM, a shout was heard and Gray was picked up by the searchlight about 75 feet distant, feebly attempting to swim to the ship, which was drifting down upon him, and was heard to shout, "I can't last much longer."  At this time the seas were breaking over the vessel, it was raining violently, and the vessel was rolling approximately 35 degrees.  Darkness, the high seas, and the roll of the vessel rendered any further attempts at rescue extremely hazardous and perilous.

Nevertheless at 12:47 AM, BM1 Marion K. Reynolds, USCG, who was one of the designated swimmers, obtained permission to go over the side.  Clad in a rubber swimsuit with lifeline attached, he jumped into the icy water for about almost 32 minutes and almost spent.  Reynolds used his own body to fend Gray from the side of the ship, and held him around the waist until both were hauled aboard.  Both were taken to sickbay and treated for shock and exposure.

Last Modified 1/12/2016