Who are some of the heroes of the Coast Guard?


Samuel W. Allison

Lieutenant Samuel W. Allison, USCGR, was awarded the Silver Star during World War II for: "conspicuous gallantry in action as Commanding Officer of USS LCI(L)-326 during amphibious landings on the French coast June 6, 1944.  Displaying superb seamanship and dauntless courage, Lieutenant Allison successfully landed units of the Army, then stood off the beach for salvage duty.  Realizing that the services of a control boat were urgently needed, he volunteered for this assignment and, in the face of concentrated shell fire and constant threat of exploding mines, effectively directed boat traffic throughout the remainder of the initial assault."

 

Henry M. Anthony

Anthony began his naval career in 1920 as an enlisted man in the U.S. Navy, and saw service aboard submarines. After transferring to the Coast Guard, he specialized in breaking rumrunner codes.  Beginning in 1935, Anthony had formed a close association with Navy's Pacific Fleet intelligence officers in Hawaii and had devoted much time to breaking simple Japanese "tuna clipper" codes, meanwhile teaching himself Japanese -- the Coast Guard has always been on a shoe-string budget and would not pay for language classes -- so Anthony, on his own initiative, learned Japanese.  He boarded all Japanese merchant vessels calling at Hawaii, on the pretext of searching for smuggled narcotics but in reality to check their routings and other sailing data.  Over the years, Anthony became an authority on the Japanese merchant marine.  During World War II, the Navy ordered Anthony to command a unit of the Pacific Fleet that concentrated on breaking the codes for the Japanese merchant fleet--which permitted U.S. submarines to decimate the Japanese merchant fleet during the war.

 

Richard A. Arrighi

Ensign Richard A. Arrighi, USCGR, an officer on board the cutter Escanaba, was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal on 18 August 1943, during rescue operations off Greenland on 3 February 1943.  After the troopship Dorchester was torpedoed, Arrighi was the first to go over the side as a "retriever."  During the early hours of the rescue operations, one lifeboat, was contacted which was in fair condition.  This boat had picked up the other survivors and was fairly crowded. As the lifeboat was made fast to Escanaba's side, one of its helpless members fell in between the cutter and the lifeboat.  This poor man was covered with oil and the men in the lifeboat simply could not extricate him from his perilous position.  ENS Arrighi, who was working in the water at the time, swam in between the boat and the ship, pulled the man out so that he would not be crushed, held him up so that a line could be put around him and helped the men in the boat get him on aboard.  Arrighi was in grave danger of being himself crushed between the boat and the ship's side, but due to his disregard of his own safety and to his quick action he was spared, only to lose his life in June when Escanaba blew up.  Arrighi was in and out of the water rescuing survivors, working in the dark with a rough sea running and quitting only when his, rubber suit became worn and filled with water.  After that he had to be hauled on board and treated for exposure.


Ellsworth Price Bertholf

Captain Ellsworth Price Bertholf was the first commandant of the Coast Guard.  He joined the Revenue Cutter Service in 1885, beginning a long and distinguished career.  While serving on the revenue cutter Bear he participated in the Point Barrow-Overland Relief Expedition of 1897-1898. Congress awarded him a Gold Medal of Honor for his actions on that expedition. He was instrumental in implementing the merger of the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the Revenue Cutter Service to form the Coast Guard in 1915.


William H. Best

Water Tender William H. Best, a crewman of the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


Frederick C. Billard

Rear Admiral Frederick C. Billard served as the commandant of the Coast Guard from 1924 through his death in 1932. He was a veteran of the First World War and was awarded the Navy Cross for his service in that conflict. He oversaw the service’s expansion during the enforcement of Prohibition and reinforced the Coast Guard’s traditional tasks as well. He worked well with Congress and the Treasury Department and was loved throughout the service.  Robert Johnson, in his history of the Coast Guard entitled Guardians of the Sea, wrote of Billard that "he must rank with the greatest commandants of the Coast Guard."


Benjamin Bottoms

ARM1c Benjamin Bottoms was a Coast Guard radio operator assigned to the cutter Northland's aircraft on the Greenland Patrol during World War II.  He was killed when his aircraft, piloted by LT John Pritchard, crashed while attempting to rescue a downed Army Air Force B-17 crew in Greenland.


William L. Boyce

Acting Machinist William L. Boyce was a member of the crew of the cutter Seneca during the First World War.  He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal "for his actions while attempting to save the torpedoed British merchant steamer Wellington, which subsequently foundered." Boyce was killed during the attempt.  


Joseph R. Bridge

Aviation Ordnanceman 1/c Joseph R. Bridge was posthumously awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal "for heroic daring during a sea rescue on 18 January 1953."  Bridge was a crewman on board a Coast Guard PBM that crashed offshore of mainland China while conducing a rescue of the crew of a Navy reconnaissance aircraft that had been shot down.  He was killed in the crash. 


David Brostrom

Lieutenant (j.g.) David Brostrom was the commanding officer of the cutter Point Welcome during a tour of duty with Operation Market Time in the Republic of Vietnam.  In a tragic "friendly fire" incident, several U.S. Air Force aircraft mistakenly attacked the Point Welcome while she was on patrol during the night of 11 August 1966. As soon as the Point Welcome was illuminated by flares dropped by the Air Force aircraft, he raced to the bridge, calling out orders to his crew.  He was killed as he reached the bridge.


Fletcher W. Brown

First Lieutenant Fletcher W. Brown, an officer on board the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was awarded a Navy Cross "for heroic and distinguished service as the commander of a volunteer crew that attempted to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine.  They persisted in that attempt until the Wellington foundered on 17 September 1918. "   


Nathan Bruckenthal

On April 25, 2004, Damage Controlman Third Class Nathan Bruckenthal, USCG, from Smithtown, New York, and two U. S. Navy sailors were killed in the line of duty while conducting maritime intercept operations in the North Arabian Gulf.  He and six other coalition sailors attempted to board a small boat near the Iraqi Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal.  As they boarded the boat it exploded.  Petty Officer Bruckenthal died later from injuries sustained in the explosion.  Petty Officer Bruckenthal was the first Coast Guardsman killed in action since the Vietnam War.  He was assigned to Tactical Law Enforcement South in Miami, Florida and deployed with Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia aboard the USS Firebolt.  This was his second deployment to the Arabian Gulf for Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Richard L. Burke

Captain Richard L. Burke was a Coast Guard aviation pioneer who participated in numerous rescues and ensured that aviation would play a central role in Coast Guard operations.  He earned his wings in 1931 and immediately became one of the best Coast Guard pilots of the time, specializing in open-ocean rescues while flying Coast Guard flying boats.  In 1933 he made the first open-ocean rescue ever in a Douglas RD Dolphin, a feat for which President Franklin Roosevelt awarded him the first of two Distinguished Flying Crosses he earned during his career.  He was also awarded a Silver Lifesaving Medal for another daring open-ocean rescue flight.  He became the commanding officer of Air Station Cape May in 1933 and served there until 1940 where he currently served as the chief pilot for Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau.  He later served as the commanding officer of Air Station Elizabeth City during the Second World War, where he was responsible for saving dozens of lives of seamen from torpedoed merchant ships.  After the war he served as the Air-Sea Rescue Officer for the Eastern Sea Frontier Headquarters, coordinating the air-sea rescue activities of all of the armed services of the U.S. He then served as the Chief, Aviation Division of the Coast Guard.  


John Cahoone

Captain John Cahoone commanded the revenue cutter Vigilant during its engagement with the British privateer Dart during the War of 1812.  The Dart had preyed upon Yankee shipping in Long Island Sound for some time, taking 20 to 30 vessels. She appeared off Newport on 4 October 1813 with two freshly caught prizes, and this braggadocio proved her undoing. Capt. Cahoone took 20 Navy volunteers on board to augment his regular crew and made sail to engage the brazen Britisher. Vigilant boldly sailed well within gun range of the more heavily armed sloop and loosed a broadside, which stunned the privateer. A boarding party from the revenue cutter quickly scrambled aboard the enemy vessel as she brushed alongside her quarry and quickly carried the Briton. Vigilant lost two men in the engagement, both of whom fell into the water and drowned while attempting to board.

 

Hugh George Campbell

Hugh George Campbell was born in South Carolina in 1760 and, in 1775 he volunteered to serve on board the Defence, the first man-of-war commissioned by the council of South Carolina in the Revolutionary War. He began his career in the Revenue Cutter Service in 1791, when he received an appointment as first mate on board the revenue cutter South Carolina. By 1798, he was promoted to master and served with great distinction in the Quasi-War with France. As captain of the cutter Eagle, Campbell captured more enemy vessels than any other cutter captain and most other navy captains. In the summer of 1799, the U.S. Navy appointed him “master commandant” and by the fall of 1800 he was commissioned a captain in the navy.  He later enjoyed a distinguished naval career as a senior captain commanding the USS Constellation and USS Constitution. During the War of 1812, he commanded a fleet of gunboats out of St. Marys, Georgia, which captured some of the first enemy vessels of the war. He died in 1820, during an overland trip from Charleston, S.C., to Washington, D.C.

Francis Cartigan

Captain Francis Cartigan commanded the revenue cutter Alabama during the Revenue Marine Services attempt to rid the Gulf of Mexico of pirates.  He and his crew, with the assistance of the revenue cutter Louisiana, destroyed a pirate rendezvous point on Breton Island in 1820.


William H. Cashman

On 9 March 1928 a pulling surfboat with nine men aboard, under the command of Boatswain's Mate First Class William Cashman, got underway from the Manomet Life-Saving to go to the rescue of the steamer Robert E. Lee.  The Lee had grounded on Mary Ann Rocks in a heavy gale.  While returning to the station the surfboat capsized due to extremely heavy seas, spilling all nine men into the water.  Six were rescued but "Captain" Cashman, Surfman Frank W. Griswold, and Surfman Edward R. Stark perished in the line of duty in the freezing water.  During the on-going search and rescue operations all 236 passengers and crew from the Robert E. Lee were saved.


William P. Chadwick

Keeper William P. Chadwick of the Green Island Lifeboat Station in New Jersey was awarded the Gold Lifesaving medal for the rescue of the crew of the schooner George Taulane on 3 February 1880.  Even after suffering a debilitating injury from flying debris, Chadwick directed the repeated efforts to save the crew of the broken Taulane. Finally after 5 hours, Chadwick’s men were able to erect a breeches buoy.  Within a half-hour all of the Taulane’s crew were safely ashore.  


Garner J. Churchill

Chief Warrant Officer (Boatswain) Garner J. Churchill of Humboldt Bay Lifeboat Station, California, was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for the rescue of the sinking vessel Rena.  His crew, however, were only awarded Silver Life-Saving medals, and he refused to accept his gold medal unless the crew also received the gold medal.  The Department proved to be unwilling to change the award, and he therefore took the lesser Silver Lifesaving Medal along with his crew.  His son noted that he took the Silver Life-Saving Medal because "he felt that he had done no more than his men."  During the Second World War, while attempting to rescue the crew of a torpedoed freighter in a 36-foot motor life boat, he evaded and narrowly escaped attack from a Japanese submarine.


Paul L. Clark

F 1/c Paul Leaman Clark was awarded a Navy Cross, one of only six awarded to Coast Guardsmen during World War II, for his actions during the invasion of North Africa in November 1942.  His citation reads: "For extraordinary heroism while serving as engineer of a landing boat attached to the USS JOSEPH T. DICKMAN during the assault on and occupation of French Morocco from November 8 to 11, 1942.  When a hostile plane strafed his boat with machinegun fire, mortally wounding the bow man and severely injuring the coxswain, Clark with quick initiative immediately withdrew from the beach.  Speeding toward the USS PALMER, he placed the wounded men aboard and, although his craft was riddled by enemy bullets, courageously returned to his station at the beach."


Malachi Corbell, Keeper

Keeper Malachi Corbell saved two African-American fisherman whose boat capsized near Caffey's Inlet, North Carolina.  In June, 1877 he was awarded a Silver Lifesaving Medal, becoming the first member of the U.S. Life-Saving Service to earn one of the newly instituted Treasury Department life-saving medals.


T. James Crotty

Lieutenant T. James Crotty was an expert on mine recovery and served with United States forces in the Philippines at the start of the Second World War.  There he carried out special demolition work during the retreat of American and Filipino forces from Bataan to Corregidor.  He then served as the executive officer of the USS Quail, which swept clear channels to the island and also bombarded Japanese forces on Bataan. Crotty was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army after the surrender of Corregidor in May 1942.  He died later that fall of diphtheria.  He was one of only three Coast Guardsmen held as prisoners of war during the 20th century.


Joseph L. Crowe, Jr.

Captain Joseph L. Crowe, Jr., was a noted Coast Guard aviator responsible for numerous rescues during peacetime and war and for his abilities as a leader, planner, and pilot.  From 1971 to 1972, Crowe served as an exchange pilot with the Air Force's 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in Vietnam, flying numerous combat search and rescue missions.  In June, 1971, he flew a combat rescue mission behind enemy lines to rescue successfully two downed airmen.  Another combat rescue mission took place in April, 1972, when Crowe attempted to rescue Lieutenant Colonel Iceal Hambleton, USAF, who was made famous in the book Bat 21 (by William C. Anderson).  Due to heavy enemy fire that riddled his HH-53C "Super Jolly," however, Crowe was forced to abort the rescue and barely made it back to base.  He planned the operation that led to the successful rescue of American and South Vietnamese personnel trapped in Quang Tri during May, 1972.  Crowe earned the Frederick L. Feinberg Award of the American Helicopter Society for his daring rescue in 1976 of seven men who were trapped on the bow section of sinking tanker Spartan Lady 145 miles south of Martha's Vineyard during an intense storm.  He later commanded Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod for two tours of duty.  Crowe was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses and nine Air Medals during his Coast Guard career.

 

Edgar A. Culbertson

BM1 Edgar A. Culbertson perished in the line of duty while trying to save three brothers who had been swept off the jetty of the Duluth Entry North Breakwater Light on the night of 30 April 1967.  He was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal.  Two other Coast Guardsmen who participated in the rescue attempt, FN Ron Prei and BM2 Richard Callahan, survived and were also awarded the Coast Guard Medal.

 

John A. Cullen

John A. Cullen was awarded the Legion of Merit for discovering and reporting the first landing of German saboteurs on the United States coast, 13 June 1942.  His timely report alerted authorities to the presence of Nazi saboteurs on U.S. soil and was instrumental in leading to their capture of the entire 8-man sabotage team within two weeks.  Ultimately Cullen’s actions resulted in the foiling of OPERATION PASTORIOUS, the code-name for the German operation, before the German operatives could carry out their mission.  


Benjamin B. Dailey

Keeper Benjamin B. Dailey was the keeper of the Cape Hatteras Lifeboat Station in North Carolina who was awarded the Gold Lifesaving medal after rescuing 9 men from the foundering ship Ephraim Williams on 22 December 1884.  In one of the most daring rescues by the Life-Saving Service since its organization, Dailey’s 7-man crew pulled for two hours through a heavy sea to reach the vessel five miles offshore. Only by relying on his expert boat-handling skills was Dailey able to bring all the survivors and his crew back to safety.  


Charles Walter David, Jr.

Stewards-Mate First Class Charles Walter David, Jr., was an African American Coast Guardsman who served on board the cutter Comanche during World War II.  When the Comanche came to the aid of the survivors of the torpedoed transport Dorchester in the frigid waters off Greenland, David volunteered to dive overboard to help rescue those in need--practicing the newly devised "rescue retriever" technique.  David repeatedly dived overboard in the water to save several men.  He even saved the life of the Comanche's executive officer, LT Robert W. Anderson, when Anderson became unable to pull himself out of the water due to exposure.  David died a few days later from hypothermia contracted during his heroic efforts.  He was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his bravery.


Warren T. Deyampert

Steward's Mate Third Class Warren T. Deyampert was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.  Deyampert, a crewman aboard the cutter Escanaba, took part in that cutter's rescue of the survivors of the torpedoed transport Dorchester off Greenland on 3 February 1943.  He worked between three and four hours in the water during darkness, pulling rafts in close to the ship, securing them with lines from the ship, securing bowlines about the survivors so that they could be hauled aboard Escanaba, and at times keeping helpless survivors afloat until they could put lines about them.  They were often in danger of being crushed by the life rafts as they brought them close to the ship's side.  Deyampert stuck with a single floating survivor as he drifted astern under the counter, in order to keep him clear of the propeller, just in case it turned.  He disregarded this danger to himself, in order that the survivor might be kept clear of it.  Deyampert perished later that year when Escanaba exploded and sank.


Charles L. Duke

Ensign Charles L. Duke carried out one of the more remarkable arrests ever conducted by the Coast Guard during the enforcement of Prohibition.  While on patrol in New York harbor, he single-handedly captured the freighter Greypoint and its crew of 22 in a daring and heroic act.  The freighter carried over a half-million dollars worth of illegal liquor on board.  


Dwight H. Dexter

Dwight Dexter served as the commander of the small boat pool at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal from the first days of the invasion until November, 1942 after being assigned to the staff of  the Commander of the Transport Group, South Pacific.  He also served as Douglas Munro's commanding officer.  Dexter was awarded the Silver Star for his actions at Guadalcanal.

Lance A. Eagan 

Lance Eagan earned his wings in 1965 first flew HH-52A helicopters along with HU-16E amphibians out of Coast Guard Air Station Brooklyn before being among the first group of Coast Guard aviators to volunteer to serve in Vietnam with the US Air Force Force's 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron flying rescue missions.  He made numerous combat rescues during his tour and by the end of his Coast Guard aviation career he was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (with 10 oak leaf clusters), a Combat Action Ribbon, two Letters of Commendation, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Medal (with 4 bronze stars) and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross (with palm).


Walter B. Eberle

First Assistant Keeper Walter B. Eberle, assigned to the Whale Rock Light Station in Rhode Island, remained at his post on the night of 21 September 1938 when a hurricane hit the northeast coast.  Eberle was killed when the lighthouse was swept out to sea.  He was a US Navy veteran, a master diver, and the father of six children.   His body was never recovered. 


Russell Elam

Cook Elam Russell, of the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


Frank A. Erickson

Frank A. Erickson was an aviation pioneer who led the Coast Guard's acquisition and development of rotary-wing aircraft.  He was instrumental in convincing the armed services of both the U.S. and Great Britain of the helicopter's potential, particularly for search and rescue and combat operations, risking his career in openly supporting what was then an untried and unproven technology.  Erickson first earned his wings in 1935 and made his first open-ocean rescue the following year while assigned to Air Station Miami.  He piloted amphibian aircraft attached to three of the newly commissioned 327-foot cutters in an experiment that tested combined aircraft-cutter operations.  He was then ordered to the Sikorsky Aircraft Company's plant at Bridgeport, CT, for training in the new helicopters being manufactured there, forming the first Coast Guard Helicopter Detachment.  He was designated as Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot No. 1 and became an instructor. He organized and trained pilots who participated in the joint U.S. and British evaluation trials held on board the SS Daghestan in November 1943 to ascertain the feasibility of helicopter flight operations aboard ships at sea.  He also trained 102 helicopter pilots and 225 mechanics, including personnel from the Army Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and the British Army, Royal Air Force and Navy.  On 3 January 1944 he flew the first ever rescue flight by helicopter when he piloted a Sikorsky HNS-1, carrying two cases of blood plasma, from New York City to Sandy Hook, NJ, during a violent storm, for the treatment of Navy crewmen from the destroyer USS Turner, which had exploded and burned off New York Harbor.  He developed equipment such as the power hoist, rescue slings and baskets, floats that permitted helicopters to land on water and techniques like landing and taking off from vessels at sea and hovering in all weather and wind conditions.  These advances furthered the utility of the helicopter, leading to its acceptance and use around the globe. Erickson's impact on the development of the helicopter in all its uses is beyond estimation.


Louis C. Etheridge, Jr.

A well-known example of African American military expertise was the crew of stewards that manned a battle station on the cutter Campbell, which rammed and sank a German submarine on February 22, 1943. SD 1/c Louis C. Etheridge, Jr., captain of the  Campbell's African American gun crew, was presented the Bronze Star medal (with a combat citation) on February 25, 1952, and a personal letter of congratulations from the Commandant.  The gun crew earned medals for "heroic achievement."


Richard Etheridge

Captain Richard Etheridge became the first African-American to command a Life-Saving station when the service appointed him as the keeper of the Pea Island Life-Saving Station in North Carolina in 1880. The Revenue Cutter Service officer who recommended his appointment, First Lieutenant Charles F. Shoemaker, noted that Etheridge was "one of the best surfmen on this part of the coast of North Carolina." Soon after Etheridge's appointment, the station burned down. Determined to execute his duties with expert commitment, Etheridge supervised the construction of a new station on the original site. He also developed rigorous lifesaving drills that enabled his crew to tackle all lifesaving tasks. His station earned the reputation of "one of the tautest on the Carolina Coast," with its keeper well-known as one of the most courageous and ingenious lifesavers in the Service. On October 11, 1896, Etheridge's rigorous training drills proved to be invaluable. The three-masted schooner, the E.S. Newman, was caught in a terrifying storm.  The vessel came ashore on the beach two miles south of the Pea Island station. The storm was so severe that Etheridge had suspended normal beach patrols that day. But the alert eyes of surfman Theodore Meekins saw the first distress flare and he immediately notified Etheridge. Etheridge gathered his crew and launched the surfboat.  Battling the strong tide and sweeping currents, the dedicated lifesavers struggled to make their way to a point opposite the schooner, only to find there was no dry land.  The daring, quick-witted Etheridge tied two of his strongest surfmen together and connected them to shore by a long line.  They fought their way through the roaring breakers and finally reached the schooner.  The seemingly inexhaustible Pea Island crewmembers journeyed through the perilous waters ten times and rescued the entire crew of the E.S. Newman.  For this rescue the crew, including Etheridge, were recently awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal by the Coast Guard.

 

Ray Evans

Petty Officer (later Commander) Raymond J. Evans was awarded a Navy Cross for his actions at the Matanikau River, Guadalcanal on 27 September 1942.  Along with his friend and shipmate Douglas Munro, Evans participated in the rescue and evacuation of  elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, who were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, from behind enemy lines while under fire.  


Manuel Ferreira

Manuel Ferreria served as a lighthouse keeper for seven different lighthouses during his career, which spanned from 1908 through 1946.  He was known as "one of the grand old men of Hawaiian lighthouse lore."  In 1919 he rescued the crew of a Japanese fishing trawler when that vessel ran aground off Barber's Point, Hawaii, where he served as a keeper.  He was instrumental in saving the schooner Bianca and its crew in 1923 when the ship lost its sails and was in danger of smashing on a reef.   Ferreira was unable to launch the lighthouse skiff due to the high surf conditions.   Instead, he ran three miles to the nearest telephone and called for assistance.   The USS Sunadin was dispatched and reached the wallowing schooner just in time to tow it to safety. 


Florence Ebersole Smith Finch

Florence Finch enlisted in the Coast Guard Women's Reserve (SPARs) during World War II after first escaping imprisonment by the Japanese.  She was captured in the Philippines in October, 1944 after serving with the Filipino resistance and assisting U.S. and Filipino prisoners of war.  She was liberated by Allied forces during the invasion of the Philippines and after returning to the U.S., she joined the SPARs.  She was the first woman to receive the Pacific Theatre Campaign ribbon.  She was also presented with the U.S. Medal of Freedom.

William Ray Flores

SA William Ray "Billy" Flores died in the line of duty while saving the lives of many of his shipmates when his cutter, the Blackthorn, collided with the tanker Capricorn, on January 28, 1980.  The Blackthorn and the tanker Capricorn collided near the entrance to Tampa Bay, Florida. The Blackthorn capsized before all the cutter’s crew could abandon ship. Twenty-seven of Flores’ shipmates did escape the sinking ship.  After the ships collided Flores and another crewmember threw lifejackets to their shipmates who had jumped into the water. Later, when his companion abandoned ship as the Blackthorn began to submerge, Flores -- who was less than a year out of boot camp--remained behind and used his own belt to strap open the lifejacket locker door, allowing additional lifejackets to float to the surface. Even after most crewmembers abandoned ship, the 19-year-old Flores remained aboard to assist trapped shipmates and to comfort those who were injured and disoriented.  He was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal.  


Gene R. Gislason

Lieutenant Gene R. Gislason was awarded the Silver Star: "For outstanding heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS LCI(L)-94, while landing assault troops in Normandy June 6, 1944.  He successfully directed his ship through numerous beach obstacles to the proper beach, discharged his troops and retracted while his ship was seriously damaged from heavy enemy fire.  Ship's communications, engine telegraph and electric steering were disabled by direct hits on the pilothouse which killed three crewmen, and one screw and shaft were rendered inoperative by beach obstacles.  By his coolness under fire and excellent seamanship, Lieutenant Gislason overcame these difficulties and brought his ship off the beach on hand steering and one screw.  He later supervised repairs and in four hours enabled the LCI(L) to remain operative in the assault area for three weeks."


Willis J. Goff

Gunner's Mate First Class Willis Jerry Goff,  a crewman on board the cutter Point Banks on patrol in Vietnam,  was awarded the Silver Star for "his heroic courage and gallantry in action while engaged in armed conflict against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam on Jan. 22, 1969."  He and fellow Point Banks crewman EN2 Larry D. Villarreal volunteered to man the cutter's launch to rescue a group of nine South Vietnamese soldiers who were trapped along a beach by two Viet Cong platoons.  Under continuous enemy fire, they made two landings on the beach to rescue successfully all of the South Vietnamese soldiers.  His citation read, in part: ". . .with courageous disregard for their own safety, Petty Officer Goff and his fellow crewmember were able to rescue nine South Vietnamese Army personnel who would have met almost certain death or capture without the assistance of the two Coast Guardsmen.  Petty Officer Goff's outstanding heroism, professionalism, and devotion to duty and to his fellow man were in the highest traditions of the United States Naval Services."

Charles C. Goodwin

Keeper Charles C. Goodwin of the Cleveland, Ohio Lifeboat station was awarded the Gold Lifesaving medal after he rescued 29 people from 3 ships on the nights of 31 October, 1 November, and 11 November 1884, each time during a horrific gale.  .


Stewart Ross Graham

Commander Stewart Graham, USCG, was an aviation pioneer and trailblazer.  He, along with Captain Frank Erickson, were instrumental in developing the helicopter as a search and rescue platform.  Additionally, Graham carries the distinction of having made a number of helicopter "firsts":  he became the first helicopter pilot to takeoff and land on a ship at sea; the first to perform a nighttime medevac by helicopter; the first to make a transcontinental helicopter flight; and the first to use a helicopter hoist to rescue survivors from a foundering ship.  He was also instrumental in developing equipment such as the power hoist, and rescue slings and baskets that permitted helicopters to conduct rescues.  He developed techniques utilizing that equipment in all weather and wind conditions, thereby making the helicopter the premiere SAR aircraft that it is today.  Graham's impact on the development of the helicopter in all its uses is beyond estimation.  .


Frank W. Griswold

On 9 March 1928 a pulling surfboat with nine men aboard, under the command of Boatswain's Mate First Class William Cashman, got underway from the Manomet Life-Saving to go to the rescue of the steamer Robert E. Lee.  The Lee had grounded on Mary Ann Rocks in a heavy gale.  While returning to the station the surfboat capsized due to extremely heavy seas, spilling all nine men into the water.  Six were rescued but "Captain" Cashman, Surfman Frank W. Griswold, and Surfman Edward R. Stark perished in the line of duty in the freezing water.  During the on-going search and rescue operations all 236 passengers and crew from the Robert E. Lee were saved.

William Ham

William Ham was a very aggressive cutter captain during the War of 1812. As commander of the Norfolk-based cutter Jefferson, he took by force the British schooner Patriot on June 25, 1812. This event took place just a week after the proclamation of war and was the first American maritime capture of the conflict. On April 12, 1813, four Royal Navy barges captured the American schooner Flight. With volunteer militia on board Jefferson, Ham ran down three of the barges, capturing over sixty British officers and enlisted men and freeing the captain and crew of the American merchantman. Together with the cutter Gallatin, the Jefferson also participated in the wartime seizure of the British merchant vessels General Blake, Active and Georgiana.

Alexander Hamilton

Secretary of the Treasury and Continental Army veteran Alexander Hamilton's first task when he joined President George Washington's cabinet was to put the finances of the young American republic in order. Hamilton realized that tariffs on imported goods were the primary means of generating revenue and that smugglers were inhibiting the collection of these funds. As such, he proposed the construction of 10 cutters to safeguard revenue by combating smuggling. On 4 August 1790 Congress authorized the construction of these vessels and for his foresight Hamilton is regarded as the "Father of the Coast Guard."


Winfield J. Hammond

Chief Aviation Electronicsman Winfield J. Hammond was posthumously awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for heroic daring during a sea rescue on 18 January 1953.  Hammond was a crewman on board a Coast Guard PBM that crashed offshore of mainland China while conducing a rescue of the crew of a Navy reconnaissance aircraft that had been shot down.  He was killed in the crash.  


Marcus A. Hanna

Marcus A. Hanna was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War.  On 4 July 1863 at Port Hudson, Louisiana, Hanna "voluntarily exposed himself to heavy enemy fire" to get water for his comrades.  After the war Hanna served as the principal keeper of the Cape Elizabeth Light Station, located near Portland, Maine.  On 28 January 1885 he rescued two men from the wrecked schooner Australia and for this action was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  As such, Hanna is the only individual to have been awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  


Glen Livingston Harris

Surfman Glen Livingston Harris was awarded a Silver Star by Admiral Chester Nimitz for his combat actions during the invasion of Guadalcanal.  He participated in the first wave landings at Tulagi Island. His citation reads: "For distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action during the landings on Tulagi Island, whose boat with seven others, constituted the first assault wave.  He landed his embarked troops and then made repeated trips during that day and the following two days, in spite of heavy enemy fire, to effect the landing of equipment, ammunition and supplies, and on September 8 he made a landing against a Japanese force at Taivu Point, Guadalcanal Island; thereby materially contributing to the successful operations in which the enemy were defeated.  His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."  Vice Admiral Russell R. Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard, also promoted him to Machinist's Mate, Second Class.


Frederick T. Hatch

Surfman Frederick Hatch was a two-time winner of the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  He earned his first award while serving in the Life-Saving Service and the second while serving as a keeper in the Lighthouse Service.


Mike Healy

Michael A. "Hell-Roaring Mike" Healy, the son of a slave, served a distinguished career as the Captain of the United States’ most famous cutter, USRC Bear he saved hundreds of men.  In 1890 he initiated the successful program which transferred herds of reindeer from Siberia to Alaska in order to help feed the native Alaskan population.  In addition to this humanitarian effort, Healy was the service’s foremost Arctic navigator and he maintained American laws in Alaska in the absence of established courts.  


Henry G. Hemingway

Captain Henry Hemingway had a distinguished career, primarily at sea.  He saw service as a line officer aboard the famous cutter Rush on the Bering Sea Patrol and McCulloch as well as the Morrill during the Mont Blanc disaster in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He served as the gunnery officer aboard the USS San Diego during World War I and survived the torpedoing of that warship by the U-156.  He commanded the cutter Snohomish in 1923 during a search-and-rescue case off Port Angeles that defied belief and earned him the Gold Lifesaving Medal for his actions in saving the entire crew of the SS Nika during a gale.

 

Coit T. Hendley

Lieutenant, junior grade Coit Hendley was awarded the Silver Star: "For heroism as Commanding Officer of the USS LCI(L)-85 while landing assault troops in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.  Lieutenant Hendley successfully landed his troops despite the mining of his vessel, fire in three compartments and a concentration of enemy fire while unloading.  His courage and seamanship in directing repairs and retracting from the beach resulted in saving the lives of many wounded aboard."

 

Heriberto Hernandez

Fireman Heriberto Hernandez was killed in action while carrying out a reconnaissance mission on the Rach Nang River in South Vietnam while in a small boat from his cutter, CGC Point Cypress.  Two other Coast Guardsmen with him were wounded but survived.   For his bravery as he faced the enemy, Hernandez was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal and the Bronze Star Medal with the Combat “V” device. "'Skill, courage under enemy fire, and devotion to duty:' Bronze Star Medal Recipient Heriberto "Eddie" Hernandez and Coast Guard Smallboat Operations in Vietnam" by Dr. William Thiesen, The Quarterdeck Log, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer 2013).

 

James A. Hirshfield

Vice-Admiral James Hirshfield had a remarkable career in the Coast Guard.  He is perhaps best remembered for his actions during a convoy battle on the North Atlantic during the Second World War while he commanded the cutter Campbell.  The Campbell engaged six U-boats and sank a seventh all in the period of two days.  Hirshfield earned the Navy Cross for his actions, one of only six such awards given to Coast Guardsmen during that conflict.


Calvin Hooper

Calvin Hooper was a long-time captain in the Bering Sea and was the first commanding officer of the Bering Sea Patrol.  He served as the commanding officer of the revenue cutter Corwin when that cutter became the first to cruise systematically in the Arctic Ocean in 1880.

 

Terrell Horne III

On 12 December 2012 Chief Boatswain's Mate Terrell Horne, III, the Executive Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut, was killed in the line of duty while conducting maritime law enforcement operations off the coast of California. He sustained fatal injuries when the small boat he was on was rammed by a vessel being operated by drug smuggling criminals.  One of Horne’s final actions was to push a fellow crewmember out of the way before the smuggling vessel collided with the Coast Guard small boat, thereby giving his life to save his shipmates.  He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer and awarded the Coast Guard Medal.

 

Donald R. Horsley

Master Chief Boatswains Mate Donald Robert Horsley served the Coast Guard though 44 years of continuous service from age 17 to 62, enlisting on 4 August 1942. He served on active duty for 44 years, four months, and 27 days. His career spanned three wars, and saw service on board 34 vessels. During the Vietnam War, BMCM Horsley served 41 months as the senior enlisted person assigned to Division 13, Coast Guard Squadron One out of Cat Lo, Republic of Vietnam. This Division of 82-foot patrol boats was tasked with the maritime interdiction of the reinforcement and re-supply of Communist forces fighting in South Vietnam. During this assignment, BMCM Horsley was awarded the Bronze Star with a Combat "V". After Vietnam, Horsley served throughout the Pacific, including assignments on board the seagoing tender Basswood and as the Officer-in-Charge of the Coast Guard Buoy Depot on Guam. In 1976, he was assigned as the Officer-in- Charge on board the river tender Wyaconda, out of Dubuque, Iowa. He returned to sea on board the cutter Sherman and was transferred to Morgenthau when Sherman was decommissioned in early 1986. At his retirement ceremony in January 1987, Horsley was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

 

George F. Hutchinson

Lieutenant, junior grade George F. Hutchinson was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry in action against the enemy as Commanding Officer of the USS LCI(L)-83 while landing assault troops in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.  Lieutenant Hutchinson directed his ship to the beach through heavily mined obstacle while under heavy enemy fire that caused numerous Army casualties, successfully unloaded troops after the ship was mined and remained with the ship effecting repairs that enabled it to come off the beach on the next tide."

Miles H. Imlay

Captain Miles H. Imlay commanded a flotilla of Coast Guard landing vessels in all major amphibious invasions in the European Theater of operations during the Second World War, including the invasion of occupied France at Normandy.  He was the second in command of one of the three invasion groups that landed at Omaha Beach on the morning of June 6, 1944 and sailed off the beaches during the day directing incoming landing craft to their correct landing places, continually under enemy fire. He later assumed command of that force after the assault group commander returned to England. He was instrumental in restoring operations off Normandy after the storms of late June wrecked the artificial harbors created off the invasion beaches. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on D-Day and also earned the Legion of Merit for his actions at the invasion of Sicily and a gold star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for his role during the invasion of Salerno, Italy.  


Joshua James

Captain Joshua James served for his entire adult life as a life-saver. Beginning with the Massachusetts Humane Society at age 15, he ended his career in the Life-Saving Service at age 74 when he died while still serving at his Point Allerton Life-Saving station.  During that career he earned almost every medal available for bravery and the Life-Saving Service Superintendent, Sumner Kimball, wrote "Captain Joshua James was probably the most celebrated life-saver in the world."  


David H. Jarvis

David Henry Jarvis was appointed to the Revenue Cutter Service in 1881, and served until his retirement as a captain in 1905.  He spent the majority of his career in Alaska and the Bering Sea.  His most famous adventure came during an expedition to save the men of a whaling fleet that had become trapped in the ice off Point Barrow, Alaska, during the winter of 1897-1898.  Jarvis, then a first-lieutenant, led a three-man rescue team consisting of Second-Lieutenant Ellsworth P. Bertholf and Doctor J.S. Call of the U. S. Public Health Service, with a herd of about 400 reindeer across 1,500 miles of tundra and pack-ice to Point Barrow.  They arrived after a journey of 99 days and thereby saved over 300 men from starvation. They had completed the longest rescue mission ever undertaken in Coast Guard history.  On 28 June 1902, Congress, in response to a request from President William McKinley to recognize officially what he called a "victory of peace," awarded Gold Medals of Honor to Jarvis and the other two members of what became known as the Overland Relief Expedition.

Maurice Jester

Lieutenant Commander Maurice Jester was the commanding officer of the cutter Icarus that attacked and sank the more heavily armed U-352 off the coast of North Carolina during the Second World War.  The Navy awarded Jester the Navy Cross for his actions in sinking the Nazi submarine, the second U-boat sunk by U.S. forces during the war.  

Clifford Johnson

Petty Officer Clifford Johnson was on liberty at the Coconut Grove Lounge in Boston on the night of 28 November 1942 when the lounge caught fire.  Over 490 persons perished in what was one of the worst fires in the nation's history.  Petty Officer Johnson repeatedly risked his life by entering the fire on four occasions to pull victims from the flames, receiving severe burns over his body.  He spent over two years in the hospital recovering from his injuries.


Jerome G. Kiah

Keeper Jerome G. Kiah, keeper of the Point Aux Barques, Michigan, Lifeboat Station, was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for his gallant attempt to rescue people on board the scow J.H. Magruder in 1880. His boat capsized and he was the only survivor. He later became a district superintendent.  


Sumner I. Kimball

Sumner Increase Kimball was the man most responsible for organizing the U.S. Life-Saving Service, established in 1878.  He served as its head for its entire existence through its merger with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915. He also served as the civilian head of the Revenue Marine Bureau within the Department of the Treasury, and so was intimately connected to both the Revenue Cutter Service and the Life-Saving Service, the fore-bears of the present day Coast Guard.  In 1877 he established a School of Instruction whereby the service selected and trained its own officer replacements, the fore-runner of the Coast Guard Academy.  


Michael Kirkpatrick

Lieutenant (j.g.) Michael Kirkpatrick was the executive officer of the cutter Point Arden during the conflict in Vietnam.  While acting as the mount captain, directing harassment-and interdiction mortar fire against enemy positions along the South Vietnamese coast on 9 August 1969, the mortar battery exploded, mortally wounding him.

William J. Kossler

Captain William J. Kossler was the Chief of Aeronautical Engineering who urged, in concert with Frank Ericsson, the development of the helicopter for military use and rescue work. Because of his far vision and confidence in the principle of rotary wing aircraft, Captain Kossler was greatly responsible for the adoption of the helicopter by the Coast Guard and Navy. He was instrumental in establishing a helicopter training base for all the U.S. military services and for the British Admiralty at the Coast Guard Air Station in Brooklyn.

Lawrence O. Lawson

Keeper Lawrence O. Lawson of the Evanston, Illinois, Life-boat Station was awarded the Gold Lifesaving medal for the rescue of the crew of the steam vessel Calumet on November 28, 1889.  His boat crew, made up entirely of students from Northwestern University, took a train, rode horses, and walked to the site of the wreck 15 miles from the station through a gale.  Rescue was effected only after the display of extraordinary courage and heroism by the boat’s crewThey launched a surfboat under near impossible conditions to rescue the 18-man crew of the Calumet.  He was known throughout the service for his leadership abilities.  


Frederick Lee

Captain Frederick Lee, USRM, commanded the revenue cutter Eagle during the War of 1812.  The British captured the Eagle only after a battle that lasted for over a day in which Eagle's crew valiantly fought the British from the shore when their cutter grounded.  


Ida Lewis

Taking over for her father who had been incapacitated by a stroke, Idawalley Z. Lewis served 39 years as the keeper of the Lime Rock, Rhode Island, Lighthouse. She made her first rescue at age 15, and was credited with saving 18 lives. She made her last rescue when she was 65, fifty years after her first. In recognition for her outstanding career as the keeper at Lime Rock, the light was renamed Ida Lewis Light.  


Harris Loomis

Captain Harris Loomis was the commanding officer of the revenue cutter Louisiana that assisted in the destruction of a pirate base on Breton Island in 1820.  While under his command the Louisiana also captured nine pirate vessels.


Raymond J. Mauerman

Captain Raymond J. Mauerman, USCG, was awarded the Legion of Merit for: "meritorious conduct as commanding officer of the USS JOSEPH T. DICKMAN during the amphibious invasion of Italy. Displaying keen judgment and expert professional skill, he effectively directed the training planning and performance of his; ship under devastating hostile fire, enabling roops, vehicles and equipment to be disembarked expeditiously on the well fortified enemy beachhead. By his splendid ship handling and sound evasive tactics he fought his vessel ably and efficiently during repeated heavy bombing attacks and brought her through without serious casualties to his command."  CAPT Mauerman was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit for: "outstanding services as commanding officer of DICKMAN prior to and during the amphibious invasion of Southern France 15, 1944. Captain Mauerman efficiently organized and thoroughly trained his ship and boat group to execute the assigned mission leading transporting to the assault area and landing the embarked army assault units on the invasion beaches on the coast of Southern France. His able conduct of this task contributed materially to the effective establishment of the beachhead and to the overall success of the invasion."


John A. Midgett

John Allen Midgett was the Keeper of the Chicamacomico Lifeboat Station, North Carolina. On 16 August 1918 Midgett heard an explosion and saw the British tanker, Mirlo, (a victim of U-117) foundering. Manning a power surfboat Midgett and his men (5 of 6 of whom were also named Midgett) went out to render assistance. Braving a heavy surf and burning oil, Midgett and his crew were able to save all but 10 men in this 6 hour ordeal. For their efforts the Midgetts received Gold Lifesaving medals.

Rasmus S. Midgett

Surfman Rasmus S. Midgett single-handedly rescued ten people from the grounded ship, Priscilla, on 18 August 1899. While on patrol three miles from the Gull Shoal Lifeboat Station, Midgett noticed the flotsam and heard the cries from the broken vessel. Deciding to take immediate action, he first directed seven of the passengers through the surf and then he carried the other three to safety. For his actions he received the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  


Harold Christian Miller

Boatswain's Mate Second Class Harold Christian Miller was awarded a Silver Star by Admiral Chester Nimitz for his combat actions during the invasion of Guadalcanal. He participated in the first wave landings at Tulagi Island. His citation reads: "For distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action during the landings on Tulagi Island, whose boat with seven others, constituted the first assault wave. He landed his embarked troops and then made repeated trips during that day and the following two days, in spite of heavy enemy fire, to effect the landing of equipment, ammunition and supplies, and on September 8 he made a landing against a Japanese force at Taivu Point, Guadalcanal Island; thereby materially contributing to the successful operations in which the enemy were defeated. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."  Vice Admiral Russell R. Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard, also promoted him to Boatswain's Mate, First Class.


Tracey W. Miller

Aviation Machinists Mate 3/c Tracey W. Miller was posthumously awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for "heroic daring during a sea rescue on 18 January 1953."   Miller was a crewman on board a Coast Guard PBM that crashed offshore of mainland China while conducting a rescue of the crew of a Navy reconnaissance aircraft that had been shot down.  He was killed in the crash. 


Kathleen A.  Moore

Kathleen "Kate" Moore served as the keeper of the Fayerweather Lighthouse of Black Rock in Bridgeport for decades.  Her father began tending the light in 1817 and Ms. Moore began assisting him in 1824 when she was twelve.   When her father became ill, she took over all of his duties.  Although she served as the principal keeper during that time she did not receive her official appointment as the head keeper until 1871.  She saved at least 21 lives during her tenure.  She retired from service in 1878.


Charles B. Mosher

Lieutenant (j.g.) Charles B. Mosher, commanding USCGC Point Grey, was awarded the Silver Star Medal "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action"  while serving on a Market Time patrol.  On 10 May 1966 near the mouth of the Co Chien River, the Point Grey engaged an enemy trawler attempting to infiltrate arms and ammunition to the Viet Cong.  After forcing the trawler to ground in shoal water near the shoreline, "POINT GREY laid down an effective, intermittent barrage along the shore to prevent Viet Cong forces from removing the trawler's cargo. . .[he] twice drove his cutter through a withering blast of enemy gunfire in attempts to put a boarding party on the trawler,  He ceased these valiant attempts to put a boarding party on the trawler only after three of his crewmembers were wounded.  He then joined with newly arrived friendly forces in destroying the enemy vessel and confiscating part of its cargo.  Lieutenant (jg) Mosher's outstanding leadership and professional skill were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."


Douglas A. Munro

Signalman First Class Douglas A. Munro was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Matanikau River, Guadalcanal on 27 September 1942.  As coxswain of a 36-foot Higgins boat, Munro took charge of the dozen craft which helped evacuate the surrounded elements of the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller.  Shortly after the last marine got on board, Munro was shot and killed by enemy fire.  He is the only Coast Guardsman to have been awarded the Medal of Honor.  


James J. Nevins

Boy 1/c James J. Nevins, of the cutter USCGC Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


Carl S. Newbury

Coxswain Carl S. Newbury of the cutter Seneca was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


Frank Newcomb

Lieutenant Frank Newcomb was the commanding officer of the revenue cutter Hudson at the battle for Cardenas, Cuba, during the Spanish American War. Newcomb and his crew rescued the disabled Navy torpedo boat USS Winslow under fire. President William McKinley noted in his request to Congress to recognized the gallantry of Newcomb and his crew with a special medal. The President noted that "In the face of a most galling fire from the enemy's guns, the revenue cutter Hudson, commanded by First Lieutenant Frank h. Newcomb, United States Revenue Cutter Service, rescued the disabled Winslow, her wounded commander and remaining crew. The commander of the Hudson kept his vessel in the very hottest fire of the action, although in constant danger of going ashore on account of the shallow water, until he finally got a line fast to the Winslow and towed that vessel out of range of the enemy's guns, a deed of special gallantry." Congress awarded Newcomb a gold Congressional medal, the officers of Hudson received silver medals, and the crew received bronze medals for their heroism. These were the only specially struck medals awarded for bravery during the war. 


Margaret Norvell

Margaret Norvell, a keeper in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, served at the Head of Passes Light from 1891 to 1896, the Port Pontchartrain Light from 1896 to 1924 as the head keeper and then finished her career at the West End Light where she served from 1924 to 1932.  She rescued numerous shipwrecked persons during her career and assisted many others in distress.  On one occasion in 1903 when a storm swept away every building in the community except the lighthouse she cared for over 200 people who had been left homeless.


Merlin O'Neill

Captain Merlin O'Neill, USCG, was awarded the Legion of Merit for: "outstanding services in the amphibious invasion of the Island of Sicily as commanding officer of the USS LEONARD WOOD. By careful preparation, outstanding professional skill and cool and energetic leadership under fire, he affected the landing of embarked troops and equipment in such manner as to contribute greatly to the success of the assault. He ably fought his ship during enemy bombing attacks, and upon completion of operations, retired from the combat area without any damage to the ship."


Douglas Ottinger

Captain Douglas Ottinger was a commander of the revenue cutter Lawrence. He gained fame when he boarded the clipper ship Challenge with a small armed party to quell a riot that had broken out in the harbor where Challenge was berthed. When the mob boarded the vessel, Ottinger and his party dispersed the mob and saved the vessel. Ottinger was also an early Inspector of the US Life-Saving Service.  He built the early Lifesaving Service boathouses on the Jersey shore and promoted the use of the life-car.


Martin M. Ovesen

Water Tender Martin M. Ovesen, of the  cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


Gene E. Oxley

Seaman 1/c Gene E. Oxley was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on D-Day at Normandy on 6 June 1944.  His citation reads: "For gallantry while on the USS LCI(L)-85 during the assault on the coast of France June 6, 1944, and for extraordinary courage in volunteering and twice taking a line ashore, in the face of heavy machine gun and shell fire, in order to assist troops unloading from the ship to the beach through chest deep water."


Richard H. Patterson

BMC Richard Patterson served on board the cutter Point Welcome when the cutter came under attack by friendly aircraft in August, 1965 just south of the demilitarized zone in South Vietnam.  The first attack caused a blazing gasoline fire on the fantail of the cutter that threatened to engulf the entire after section of the vessel.  Chief Patterson, displaying the finest qualities of bravery and leadership, took charge of the situation and using a fire hose, forced the flaming liquid over the side, thus extinguishing the fire.  Even as he was accomplishing this task, he saw the second aircraft attack rip through the pilot house killing the cutter's commanding officer and seriously wounding the executive officer and the helmsman. Unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, Chief Patterson climbed to the bridge and took command.  He ordered the crew to carry the wounded to the comparative safety of the below decks area.  Alone on the bridge, he then maneuvered the cutter at high speed to avoid subsequent attacks.  When it became apparent that he could not successfully evade the attacking aircraft, he ran the cutter close ashore, and directed the crew to abandon ship.  Under his composed leadership, the wounded were wrapped in life jackets and paired with the able bodied before going over the side.  Chief Patterson kept his crew calm and organized while they were in the water and until they were picked up by rescue craft.  The Navy Department awarded him the bronze star with the combat "V" device for his actions.


Carl U. Peterson

Lieutenant Commander Carl U. Peterson was the commanding officer of the cutter Escanaba which was sunk in the North Atlantic in June of 1943 with a loss of all but two crewmen. The cutter had been on escort duty.  He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit for "outstanding services as commanding officer of the USCGC Escanaba while that vessel was engaged in rescue operations in behalf of an American transport [Dorchester] which was torpedoed and sunk on February 3, 1943.  Proceeding through heavy seas in total darkness, Lt. Comdr. Peterson, under imminent threat of enemy attack, took immediate action which involved great skill with the result that 133 men were rescued from the sea."


Kenneth Phillips

Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Phillips was the commanding officer of the Coast Guard manned destroyer escort USS Leopold during the Second World War. The Leopold, while escorting a convoy across the North Atlantic, was torpedoed and sunk by a U-boat. He ensured that his men abandoned ship and did his utmost to encourage his men to survive in the frigid waters until they were rescued. He did not survive.


Robert H. Prause

Lieutenant Robert H. Prause, the executive officer of cutter Escanaba, was awarded a posthumous Letter of Commendation for his work in organizing and supervising the rescue operations of the survivors of the sinking of the troopship Dorchester on 3 February 1943.  The handling, by LT Prause, of the survivors and crew members in the water while the ship was maneuvering, plus the prompt recovery of two crew members who were pulled overboard as they tried to keep the survivors alongside, displayed sound judgment and excellent seamanship.  Despite the lack of illumination there was no confusion.  Everyone worked with grim determination to cheat the enemy out of as many victims as possible, despite the constant threat of submarine action.  LT Prause had previously planned the retriever method of rescue and had gone into the icy water off the dock at Bluie West One, Greenland, in a rubber suit with a line attached.  He perished later that year when Escanaba blew up and sank while on convoy duty. 


William H. Prime

Seaman William H. Prime, of the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


John A. Pritchard

Lieutenant John A. Pritchard was a Coast Guard aviator assigned to the cutter Northland on the Greenland Patrol during World War II. He and his radio operator, ARM1c Benjamin Bottoms, were killed when his aircraft crashed while attempting to rescue a downed Army Air Force B-17 crew in Greenland during a severe storm. The day before Pritchard had already rescued two of the bomber’s crew and he heroically volunteered to attempt another flight to rescue the remaining Army Air Force personnel even though a storm was closing in on the crash site.

Forrest O. Rednour

Ship's Cook, 2/c Rednour, of Chicago, was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Medal during World War II.  His citation reads: "For heroic conduct while aboard the CGC Escanaba during the rescue of survivors from a torpedoed ship [Dorchester] in North Atlantic waters.  Despite possible enemy submarine action, Rednour risked his life in the black and icy waters to aid in the rescue of unconscious and helpless survivors.  Realizing the danger of being crushed between the rafts and the ship's side or of being struck by a propeller blade if the engines backed, he swam in under the counter of the constantly maneuvering Escanaba and prevented many floating survivors from being caught in the suction of the screws, in one instance retrieving a loading raft.  Rednour's gallant and voluntary action in subjecting himself to pounding seas and bitter cold for nearly four hours contributed to the rescue of 145 persons."  Rednour worked the longest of all retrievers and accounted for the greatest number of survivors.


Jack Rittichier

Lieutenant Jack Rittichier began his flying career with the U.S. Air Force before accepting a commission with the Coast Guard in 1963 and began his first Coast Guard assignment flying out of Air Station Elizabeth City.  He quickly earned a Unit Commendation for his rescue work during Hurricane Betsy.  In May 1966 he was assigned to Air Station Detroit and was awarded the Air Medal in June 1967 for his role as the copilot of a helicopter that flew 150 miles from Detroit, in blinding snow and ice conditions, to rescue eight seamen from the West German motor vessel Nordmeer.  Rittichier was one of the first three Coast Guard exchange pilots to volunteer to fly combat search and rescue missions with the Air Force's 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in the Republic of Vietnam.  Within three weeks of his arrival in Vietnam he demonstrated his courage above and beyond the call of duty.  Flying through heavy enemy fire to save four Army fliers, he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross.  Two weeks later, under the light of illumination flares, he pulled nine men from the side of a mountain, five of whom were badly wounded.  On 9 June 1968, 37 miles west of Hue, Rittichier, along with his crew, attempted to rescue a downed Marine Corps fighter pilot.  After heavy enemy fire forced him to pull away during his first attempt to land, he came around again after the area had been swept by helicopter gunships.  As he hovered near the Marine pilot, however, enemy bullets riddled his HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter and set it afire.  He tried to pull away, but his aircraft would not respond.  The helicopter settled to the ground and exploded.  Within 30 seconds a ball of fire consumed the aircraft, killing all on board.  During his distinguished career, he demonstrated a fearless determination to save lives at the risk of his own.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and a Coast Guard Unit Commendation.  


Robert M. Salmon

Lieutenant Robert M. Salmon was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry as commanding officer of a U.S. LCI(L) while landing assault troops in Normandy, France, June 6, 1944.  He pressed the landing of troops despite the mining of his vessel, a serious fire forward and heavy enemy gunfire.  He supervised the unloading of troops, directed the fire fighting despite the loss of proper equipment and exhibiting courage of a high degree remained with the ship until it was impossible to control the progress of the fire until it was impossible to control the progress of the fire and it was necessary to abandon ship over the stern.  After abandoning he directed a party searching for fire fighting equipment and subsequently fought the fire on another LCI(L) and assisted her commanding officer until she was abandoned."

Sidney Sanderlin

BMC Sidney Sanderlin was the commanding officer of CG-249, a 75-foot patrol boat, who was killed in action in 1927 during a boarding and arrest while enforcing the Prohibition laws. His killer, Horace Alderman, was hanged at the Coast Guard Section Base, Fort Lauderdale, FL.


Charles Satterlee

Captain Charles Satterlee was the commanding officer of the cutter Tampa during the First World War. He was killed in action when the Tampa was torpedoed and lost with all hands on September 26, 1918. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.


Charles B. Sexton

Machinery Technician First Class Charles W. Sexton, USCG, was awarded a posthumous award of the Coast Guard Medal for "extraordinary heroism."  His award citation stated: "Petty Officer SEXTON is cited for extraordinary heroism on 11 January 1991 while serving as emergency medical technician aboard Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat CG-44381.  The boat crew was responding to a distress call from F/V SEA KING, a 75-foot stern trawler with four persons on board, which was taking on water and in danger of sinking, four nautical miles northwest of the Columbia River Bar, with her decks awash and after compartment and engine room steadily filling up with water.  From the relative safety the motor lifeboat, Petty Officer SEXTON unselfishly volunteered to go aboard the foundering fishing vessel to treat the injuries of a SEA KING crew member who had fallen to the deck boat during a failed helicopter hoist.  He skillfully diagnosed the victim's injuries, informed the flight surgeon of the extent of the injuries and provided first aid treatment.  Once the victim was stabilized, Petty Officer SEXTON turned his attention to assisting with the dewatering of the vessel.  The SEA KING required several dewatering pumps to remove the initial quantity of sea water from the engine room.  Then, hourly dewatering of the vessel was necessary to maintain proper trim aboard the vessel.  After more than 6 hours of this exhausting routine, with the worst of the treacherous bar crossing behind them, the SEA KING suddenly, without warning, rolled over, throwing victims into the churning seas and trapping Petty Officer SEXTON in the enclosed pilot house.  He went down with vessel, sacrificing his life while attempting to save the lives of the SEA KING’s crew members.  Petty Officer SEXTON demonstrated remarkable initiative, exceptional fortitude, and daring in spite of imminent danger in this rescue.  His courage and devotion to duty are most heartily commended and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Coast Guard."


Leonard G. Shepard

Captain Leonard G. Shepard was the Chief of the Division of the Revenue Cutter Service from 1889-1895. He saw the service through a number of reforms that prepared it for the next century. No longer was the primary duty of the cutters revenue collection.  He oversaw the change to a constabulary of the sea.

Halert C. Shepheard

Commodore Halert C. Shepheard served as the Coast Guard's Chief of the Merchant Marine Inspection Division during World War II.  At the invitation of General Dwight Eisenhower, Vice Admiral Russell Waesche appointed then-Captain Shepheard to serve on the staff of SHAEF during the planning for the Normandy Invasion where he was the staff expert on issues regarding the merchant marine. For his service during the war, Commodore Shepheard was awarded the Legion of Merit.  His citation read, in part: "Uncompromising in his devotion to duty and tireless in his efforts, Commodore Shepheard, by his resourceful initiative and judgment, contributed essentially to the development of an efficient war-time  United States Merchant Marine for the transportation of troops, war-time personnel and war cargoes to all fronts of the world on merchant and troop ships with a minimum loss of ships, passengers, operating personnel or cargoes, thereby serving the interests of his country to the best of his fine abilities throughout the most critical period in the history of the Nation."


Charles F. Shoemaker

Captain Charles F. Shoemaker replaced Captain Leonard Shepard as the Chief of the Revenue Cutter Service in 1895. He oversaw the establishment of a permanent school to train cadets and convinced Congress to authorize and appropriate money for the construction of newer cutters capable of ocean cruising.


Edward Smith

Rear Admiral Edward "Iceberg" Smith served for 40 years in the Coast Guard.  He was the first Coast Guardsman to earn a Ph.D.  He commanded the Greenland Patrol during the Second World War after first becoming an expert in arctic operations and oceanography before the war with the International Ice Patrol.  The Navy awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal for his war-time activities.  Prior to the war he participated in the Marion Expedition and took part in the Graf Zeppelin polar flight of 1931.  After the war he commanded the Third District and the Eastern Area before retiring in 1950.  He went on to head the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.


William Allerton Sparling

Coxswain William Allerton Sparling was awarded a Silver Star by Admiral Chester Nimitz for his combat actions during the invasion of Guadalcanal. He participated in the first wave landings at Tulagi Island. His citation reads: "For distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action during the landings on Tulagi Island, whose boat with seven others, constituted the first assault wave. He landed his embarked troops and then made repeated trips during that day and the following two days, in spite of heavy enemy fire, to effect the landing of equipment, ammunition and supplies, and on September 8 he made a landing against a Japanese force at Taivu Point, Guadalcanal Island; thereby materially contributing to the successful operations in which the enemy were defeated. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Coast Guard." Vice Admiral Russell R. Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard, also promoted him to Boatswain's Mate, Second Class.


Edward R. Stark

On 9 March 1928 a pulling surfboat with nine men aboard, under the command of Boatswain's Mate First Class William Cashman, got underway from the Manomet Life-Saving to go to the rescue of the steamer Robert E. Lee.  The Lee had grounded on Mary Ann Rocks in a heavy gale.  While returning to the station the surfboat capsized due to extremely heavy seas, spilling all nine men into the water.  Six were rescued but "Captain" Cashman, Surfman Frank W. Griswold, and Surfman Edward R. Stark perished in the line of duty in the freezing water.  During the on-going search and rescue operations all 236 passengers and crew from the Robert E. Lee were saved.


Merton Stellenwerf

Coxswain Merton Stellenwerf, of the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  


Joseph E. Stika

Lieutenant Joseph E. Stika was awarded the Navy Cross for heroic conduct on the occasion of the explosion and fire at the T.A. Gillespie shell-loading plant at Morgan, New Jersey, in October 1918.  


Elmer F. Stone

Commander Elmer "Archie" Fowler Stone was a Coast Guard aviation pioneer. He was one of two officers to first suggest that the Coast Guard develop an aviation capability and became the Coast Guard's first aviator upon graduating from flight training at Pensacola. Stone piloted the Navy's NC-4 on its historic and successful trans-Atlantic flight in 1919. For this daring feat, Stone earned a Congressional Medal of Achievement as well as a Navy Cross. Stone then worked with the Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics for the next six years as a test pilot. Here he assisted in the development of the catapults and arresting gear of the new aircraft carriers USS Lexington and USS Saratoga, equipment still used on aircraft carriers to this day. After a tour at sea, "Archie" Stone became the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Aviation Unit at Cape May, NJ. He continued to develop his skill at making open-ocean landings until he was arguably the best seaplane pilot in any of the world's naval services. In 1933 when the Navy dirigible Akron went down off the Atlantic coast in a storm with only three survivors of the 76 aboard, Stone was the only pilot available willing to attempt a landing in the heavy seas. He accomplished this successfully, but was too late to save any more lives. In December 1934 Stone set a new world speed for amphibian aircraft. His last duty was as the commanding officer of the Air Patrol Detachment in San Diego. He died of a heart attack while on duty on 26 May 1936 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Stone was a pivotal figure in the establishment and development of aviation for the Coast Guard and the Navy and was a favorite of many of the famous aviation figures of the day, including Eddie Rickenbacker, aircraft designers Anthony Fokker, Igor Sikorsky, and Alexander P. de Seversky and the Prince of Wales.  Commander Elmer "Archie" Stone was enshrined in the Naval Aviation Hall of Honor in 1983.  


Dorothy Stratton

Captain Dorothy Stratton, USCGR, directed the Coast Guard’s Women’s Reserve or SPARs during the Second World War. A full professor and the dean for women at Purdue University, Stratton was the first woman accepted into the women’s reserve in 1942 and she devised the name SPAR from the Coast Guard’s motto Semper Paratus - "Always Ready." Serving in administrative and support roles, the SPARs freed desperately needed men for sea duty and made a significant contribution to the American war effort.  


John F. String, Jr.

Lieutenant John F. String, Jr., USCGR, was awarded the Silver Star for: "conspicuous gallantry in action while serving as commanding officer of the USS PC 545 off Anzio, Italy on March 18, 1944. When an enemy motor torpedo boat was sighted at night. Lt, String immediately ordered the attack. With an expert display of seaman ship, he so skillfully maneuvered the ship that the first shots scored hits on the enemy craft before it was able to maneuver into position to effectively use its torpedoes and the resulting fire caused it to disintegrate in an explosion. This successful action against the enemy contributed materially to the protection of shipping in the Anzio area and to the successful maintenance of forces ashore."


Gerald W. Stuart

Lieutenant (j.g.) Gerald W. Stuart was posthumously awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for "heroic daring during a sea rescue on 18 January 1953."  Stuart was a crewman on board a Coast Guard PBM that crashed offshore of mainland China while conducing a rescue of the crew of a Navy reconnaissance aircraft that had been shot down.  He was killed in the crash. 


Josiah Sturgis

Captain Josiah Sturgis of the U.S. Revenue Marine was the commanding officer of the revenue cutter Hamilton that gained notoriety along the coast of New England.  He rescued hundreds of people and many ships in his career. He received many testimonials from Boston merchants and was so well known that a piano piece was written about his ship entitled the "Hamilton Quick Step."  Click here to view a photograph of Captain Josiah Sturgis


Daniel James Tarr

Surfman Daniel James Tarr was awarded a Silver Star by Admiral Chester Nimitz for his combat actions during the invasion of Guadalcanal. He participated in the first wave landings at Tulagi Island. His citation reads: "For distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity in action during the landings on Tulagi Island, whose boat with seven others, constituted the first assault wave. He landed his embarked troops and then made repeated trips during that day and the following two days, in spite of heavy enemy fire, to effect the landing of equipment, ammunition and supplies, and on September 8 he made a landing against a Japanese force at Taivu Point, Guadalcanal Island; thereby materially contributing to the successful operations in which the enemy were defeated. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the United States Coast Guard." Vice Admiral Russell R. Waesche, Commandant of the Coast Guard, also promoted him to Boatswain's Mate, Second Class.


Barham F. Thomson III

Lieutenant (j.g.) Barham F. Thomson III, commanding USCGC Point Slocum, was awarded the Silver Star Medal "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action"  while serving on a Market Time patrol.  On 20 June 1966 the Point Slocum went to the assistance of USCGC Point League which was in a "fierce firefight" with an enemy trawler attempting to deliver arms and ammunition to Viet Cong forces near the mouth of the Co Chien River.  By the time the Point Slocum arrived on scene, the enemy trawler had been driven aground and Viet Cong forces ashore were firing on the cutters.  When friendly aircraft arrived in the area, the Point Slocum passed close along the shoreline in an attempt to draw enemy fire, thereby exposing their positions to the aircraft.  The cutter received some damage from enemy fire.  When the trawler caught fire, he "put POINT SLOCUM along side and proceeded to extinguish the fire.  His bravery and skill in risking his vessel, first to draw the enemy fire, and then to save the captured ship and its cargo greatly contributed to the United States efforts against insurgent forces in the Republic of Vietnam and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Armed Forces."

Raymond H. Tingard

Water Tender Raymond H. Tingard, of the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."  

Carl R. Tornell

Aviation Electronicsman 1/c Carl R. Tornell was posthumously awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for "heroic daring during a sea rescue on 18 January 1953."  Tornell was a crewman on board a Coast Guard PBM that crashed offshore of mainland China while conducing a rescue of the crew of a Navy reconnaissance aircraft that had been shot down. He was killed in the crash. 


Samuel Travis

Captain Samuel Travis of the Revenue Marine was the commanding officer of the cutter Surveyor during the War of 1812. The cutter was boarded by the British in 1813 and captured after a brief, but spirited, engagement which so impressed the British commander that he returned Travis’s sword.  He wrote:

 "Your gallant and desperate attempt to defend your vessel against more than double your number, on the night of the 12 inst., excited such admiration on the part of your opponents, as I have seldom witnessed, and induces me to return you the sword you had so nobly used. . . . Our poor fellows have severely suffered; occasioned chiefly, if not solely, by the precautions you had taken to prevent surprise.  In short, I am at a loss which to admire most, the arrangement on board the Surveyor, or the determined manner by which her deck was disputed, inch by inch.  You have my most sincere wishes for the immediate parole and speedy exchange of yourself and brave crew. . ."


William F. Trump

Motor Machinist's Mate 1/c William F. Trump was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry and intrepidity in action in the assault phase of an LCI (L) which landed troops in the face of severe enemy fire and despite a profusion of beach obstacles on the coast of France June 6, 1944.  Having volunteered for the assignment he waded between the heavily mined beach obstacles and dragged an anchor and anchor-line to shallow water, thereby providing a safety line for troops to follow."


William B. Turek

Lieutenant Commander William B. Turek, a marine inspector assigned to MSO Hampton Roads, gave his life in the line of duty on 3 March 1993 while inspecting the M/V Cape Diamond.  During a test of the ship's carbon dioxide extinguishing system a release of a significant amount of CO2 imperiled the crew stationed in the engine room.  Lieutenant Commander Turek gave his life in attempting to warn those men of the CO2 release.  The Coast Guard posthumously awarded Lieutenant Commander Turek the Coast Guard Medal.

 

Aden C. Unger

Commander Aden C. Unger was awarded the Silver Star: "For outstanding services as a deputy assault group commander in the assault on the coast of France, June 6, 1944.  He took his station close to the beach under heavy enemy fire on the day of the assault and remained under fire during the most bitter period of the fighting, when with great coolness he made decisions on the spot, reorganized, grouped and dispatched craft to the beach, and made the weight of his judgment felt in a manner which contributed materially to the success of the operation."

Larry D. Villarreal

Engineman Second Class Larry D. Villarreal, a crewman on board the cutter Point Banks on patrol in Vietnam, was awarded the Silver Star for "his heroic courage and gallantry in action while engaged in armed conflict against North Vietnamese and Viet Cong aggressors in the Republic of Vietnam on Jan. 22, 1969."  He and fellow Point Banks crewman GM1 Willis J. Goff volunteered to man the cutter's launch to rescue a group of nine South Vietnamese soldiers who were trapped along a beach by two Viet Cong platoons.  Under continuous enemy fire, they made two landings on the beach to rescue successfully all of the South Vietnamese soldiers.  His citation read, in part: ". . .with courageous disregard for their own safety, Petty Officer Villarreal and his fellow crewmember were able to rescue the nine Vietnamese Army personnel who would have met almost certain death or capture without the assistance of the two Coast Guardsmen.  Petty Officer Villarreal's outstanding heroism, professionalism, and devotion to duty and to his fellow man were in the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."


Christian Von Paulsen

Captain Christian Von Paulsen, a Coast Guard aviation pioneer, earned his wings in 1920.  He helped to establish the first successful Coast Guard air unit on Ten Pound Island in Gloucester Harbor in May 1925.  Using borrowed U.S. Navy aircraft, they proved that aviation was useful in carrying out traditional Coast Guard operations, including law enforcement and search and rescue.  The former was important during this time as Prohibition and the consequent increases in smuggling put the national spotlight on the Coast Guard.  Von Paulsen continued experimenting with different techniques, insuring that aviation would become an indispensable part of the Coast Guard.  He commanded Coast Guard Air Station Cape May from 1930 to 1932 and then Air Station Miami.  While he was stationed here the Treasury Department awarded him a Gold Lifesaving Medal for a daring open-sea rescue.  The rescue made him famous and he appeared in the "Unsung Heroes" comic book in the mid-1930s.  He was also a respected sailor and ship's captain as well, and commanded the Greenland Patrol during World War II.  Von Paulsen played an instrumental role in establishing the aviation arm of the Coast Guard.


Arend Vyn, Jr.

Lieutenant junior grade Arend Vyn was awarded the Silver Star: "For gallantry in action as Commanding Officer of USS LCI-91 in the assault on the coast of France June 6 1944.  Lt (jg) Vyn beached his ship and discharged the Army elements therein in the face of murderous fire and a labyrinth of obstacles and mines.  In spite of the fact that his ship was mined and repeatedly struck by artillery fire and small-arms fire, he continued to land the army load in the face of certain loss of his ship.  His determination to put the Army ashore was in keeping with the highest traditions of the offensive spirit of the United States Naval Service."


Russell R. Waesche, Sr.

Admiral Russell R. Waesche, Sr., was the commandant of the Coast Guard from 1936 through 1945.  He oversaw the expansion of the Coast Guard during the Second World War and managed to keep the service’s identity intact during its four years under the control of the Navy Department during that conflict.


Kate Walker

Kate Walker, a keeper with the U.S. Lighthouse Service, served at the Robbins Reef Light from 1894 to 1919.  She was originally appointed as an assistant keeper to her husband, the head keeper of the light.   When he passed away in 1886 she became the head keeper and served until she retired in 1919.  During her tenure, she rescued approximately 50 people who were shipwrecked near her station.

Quentin R. Walsh

Lieutenant Commander (later Captain) Quentin R. Walsh was a member of the Logistics and Planning Section, US Naval Forces during World War II.  Prior to the Normandy invasion, he planned the occupation and operation of the ports that were to be captured from the Germans. During the fighting for Cherbourg in late June 1944, Walsh and Lieutenant Frank Lauer, USNR forced the surrender of Fort du Homet, a German stronghold.  For his actions he was awarded a Navy Cross.  His citation read: [For] "Heroism as Commanding Officer of a U.S. Naval party reconnoitering the naval facilities and naval arsenal at Cherbourg June 26 and 27, 1944.  While in command of a reconnaissance party, Commander Walsh entered the port of Cherbourg and penetrated the eastern half of the city, engaging in street fighting with the enemy.  He accepted the surrender and disarmed 400 of the enemy force at the naval arsenal and later received unconditional surrender of 350 enemy troops and, at the same time, released 52 captured U.S. Army paratroopers."


Robert G. Ward

Seaman 1/c Robert G. Ward was awarded the Silver Star: "For conspicuous gallantry in action during the landing operations against the enemy on Cotentin Peninsula, France, June 6, 1944.  While acting as coxswain of a landing craft in the first wave, Ward successfully landed his troop personnel despite enemy opposition.  Upon retracting from the beach he observed the stranded crews from two other landing craft whose boats had been destroyed by enemy mortar fire.  Ward returned to the beach, took off both crews despite continued shelling, and returned safely with them to his ship."


Bernard C. Webber & the crew of the CG-36500

BM1 Bernard C. Webber, coxswain of motor lifeboat CG-36500, from Station Chatham, Massachusetts, and his crew of three rescued the crew of the stricken tanker Pendleton, which had broken in half during a storm on 18 February 1952 off the coast of Massachusetts.   Webber maneuvered the 36-footer under the Pendleton's stern with expert skill as the tanker's crew, trapped in the stern section, abandoned the remains of their ship on a Jacobs ladder into the Coast Guard lifeboat.  Webber and his crew of three, EN3 Andrew Fitzgerald; SN Richard Livesey; and SN Irving Maske, saved 32 of the 33 Pendleton's crewmen who were on the stern section of the ship.  Webber and entire crew were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for their heroic actions. 


Robert J. Yered

Engineman First Class Robert J. Yered was awarded the Silver Star for action on 18 February 1968 while attached to Explosive Loading Detachment #1, Cat Lai, Republic of Vietnam.  EN1 Yered was supervising the loading of explosives on board an ammunition ship when an enemy rocket struck a barge loaded with several tons of mortar ammunition moored alongside.  His citation noted that "without regard for his personal safety, [he] exposed himself to the enemy fusillade as he helped extinguish the fire on the burning barge. . .His courageous act averted destruction of the ammunition ship, and the Army Terminal."  EN1 Yered also received the Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the attack.  


Hopley Yeaton, USRM

Captain Hopley Yeaton, a veteran of the Continental Navy during the American Revolution, was the first officer commissioned in what would become the Revenue Marine and commanded the revenue cutter Scammel, one of the original 10 cutters authorized by Alexander Hamilton and Congress.


August Zuleger

Assistant Master at Arms August Zuleger, of the cutter Seneca on convoy duty during the First World War, was posthumously awarded a Navy Cross "for services in attempting to save the British merchant steamer Wellington after she had been torpedoed by a German submarine, and who lost his life when the Wellington foundered on September 17, 1918."

 

Other Coast Guard Heroes

 


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