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U.S. Coast Guard Awards


John S. Baylis

Thomas W. Coker

Awarded 24 October 1924

On 7 July 1924 while the Coast Guard cutter Mascoutin was anchored off Fisherman's Island, VA, E. L. Lizak (Radioman, Second Class) was observed in the water. He was swimming frantically, but drifting rapidly astern. He called for a rope, which was thrown to him, but apparently being only semiconscious, he made no attempt to grasp it. MMC Thomas W. Coker jumped overboard with a ring buoy and swam toward Lizak. LCDR John Baylis also jumped overboard, swam out, and seized Lizak by the hair. Coker was taken with cramps in his arm and leg and, therefore, could not carry the ring buoy. Thereupon, LCDR Baylis, whose strength was fast ebbing, released his hold on Lizak, swam over to Coker, and got the ring buoy. He then swam back after Lizak, but was unable to find him. Though Baylis and Coker ultimately lost Lizak, their efforts to save his life at great personal risk resulted in their being awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.

Last Modified 1/12/2016