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U.S. Coast Guard Awards

William R. Kinley

Awarded on 23 April 1930

Coast Guard seaplane No. 3, manned by Lieutenant Melka, Machinist Kenly and Radio Electrician Descoteaux, took off from Gloucestter Harbor, MA at 9.54 AM on 10 November 1929. After gaining a height of about 50 feet, the plane lost altitude. Its right wing struck the forestay of the schooner Jackie B., then proceeding out of the harbor. The plane’s right wing was partly torn off by the collision and the fuselage struck the water with great force. Lieutenant Melka, in the forward cockpit, escaped at the moment of collision, but Descoteaux was caught under the water in his compartment. He was badly injured and unable to free himself. Although suffering from a broken arm and other injuries, Kenly crawled to Descoteaux’s compartment, at great risk to his own life, and managed to pull the imprisoned man out through a side window. A dory from the Jackie B. soon arrived and picked up Kenly and Descoteaux. They were rushed to the hospital.

Last Modified 1/12/2016