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U.S. Coast Guard Awards

Charles G. Starling
John A. Steadman

Awarded 23 January 1939

On 21 September 1938, during the peak of the hurricane that swept over Penzanos Point, Woods Hole, MA, SN1Charles G. Starling and RM3 John A. Staeadman, together with other members of a rescue party, set out to aid distressed families in that location. They proceeded to Penzanos Point where they found 2 men trapped on a telephone pole. Starling tied a line around his waist, several of the rescue party held the other end, and attempted to wade through the surging water to the pole. He made three attempts to reach the distraught men, but each time he was swept off his feet by the force of the water. By this time one of the men was unable to hold on any longer and he was washed out to sea. The second and younger man held on and Starling tried to reach him from another position working with the tide instead of against it, with the aid of a longer line. He waded through water waist deep and this time succeeded in reaching the man. He carried him to high land and then Starling returned to USCGC General Greene.

Meanwhile, Steadman found a woman searching for her 12-year-old son. He was located nearby and Steadman carried him to high land, then attempted to retrace his steps to render further aid to a stranded couple who wished to go to the Breakers Hotel because their home was uninhabitable. Just as he reached the halfway mark, a wall of water broke over his head and he could not go either way. He grasped hold of a hedge until the second wall of water broke, then he held onto a guy wire. The terrific current broke his hold on the wire and he was washed out to sea. His body was discovered sometime later.

It is considered that Starling’s unusual courage and quick thinking saved a life.  Steadman lost his life while saving the life of the 12-year-old boy.

Last Modified 12/21/2016