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U.S. Coast Guard Awards

Hilman J. Persson
Roy I. Anderson
Jesse W. Mathews
Daniel K. Hamaleinen
Roy N. Woods

Awarded 20 September 1937

Around 8:10 PM on 7 May 1937 (rescue was actually effected on 8 May 1937), the lookout at US Coast Guard Station Willapa Bay (WA) reported a steamer in distress to US Coast Guard Station Gray’s Harbor. The ship was on the north spit off Willapa Bay entrance and the Officer-in-Charge and other members of the Willapa Bay crew were already out in their motor lifeboat on another call and could not be contacted. He asked that the Gray’s Harbor Station help the disabled steamer. The Officer-in-Charge of the Gray’s Harbor Station, BN (L) Hilman J. Persson, immediately departed from the station with MOMM1 (L) Roy I. Anderson, MOMM1 Jesse W. Mathews, Surfman Daniel E. Hamaleinen, and Surfman Roy N. Woods in the motor lifeboat and proceeded to Willapa Harbor.

The wind was blowing a gale, the sea was so rough and the current so strong and squalls so severe that the lifeboat could hardly be kept on her course. The visibility was also very poor and hampered the progress of the lifeboat that could at no time be forced to a speed greater than 600 revolutions. Around 3:45 AM on 8 May, after a hazardous trip, the lifeboat arrived off the north spit and proceeded inshore in search of the vessel. At daybreak, about 4:15 AM, the vessel was sighted with only the bridge and bow out of the water and with loose lumber of the cargo between the bridge and forecastle. The motor lifeboat made two attempts to enter the spit. On the first attempt two heavy breakers caught the boat astern and almost upended her, turning her completely around. The second time they succeeded in getting over the heaviest breakers. At 5:00 AM the lifeboat reached the disabled steamer, which was found to be Trinidad, and BN (L) Persson immediately ordered the sailors to watch their chance to crawl out on the loose lumber and jump into the lifeboat. BN (L) Persson succeeded in taking all hands off Trinidad. All 21 men were taken off without mishap. The Captain, who was the last to leave, reported that the second-mate had been washed overboard. The crewmen of Trinidad were taken into Willapa Bay where all were transferred to the oil screw Ruth E. which transported them to Raymond, WA.

The above named warrant officer BN (L) Hilman J. Persson and his crew unhesitatingly risked their lives in order to rescue the crew of Trinidad. The rescue was performed under extremely hazardous conditions and the crew displayed outstanding bravery, heroic daring, and skill in effecting the rescue of the 21 officers and men of Trinidad. 

Last Modified 1/12/2016