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U.S. Coast Guard Awards


James P. Grier

Awarded on 22 February 1973

For extreme and heroic daring on the morning of 5 October 1969, while on authorized leave, when he rescued two persons and attempted to rescue a third from drowning in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Rockport Harbor, MA.  Petty Officer Grier, noticing a small sailboat, without power, drifting dangerously close to the breakwater with two adults and a child on board, hurried to the scene arriving just before the boat hit the rocks.  Entering the water, Petty Officer Grier caught the boy who was thrown from the boat by his father.  He then prevented him from being swept into the breaker and placed him on a high rock out of danger.  As the boat was driven onto the rocks by the high wind and seas, the mast snapped, throwing the man and his wife into the water and entangling the woman in the mass of twisted cable.  The man tried to climb back aboard his boat but the force of the waves thwarted his efforts.  Exhausted, he had given up when Petty Officer Grier dived in and pulled him to safety on the rocks.  Petty Officer Grier then tried to grasp the woman as the surf tossed her towards him. When she disappeared beneath the boat, he again re-entered the dangerous surf and swam to her rescue.  Although swells were tossing the boat against the rocks, grinding and ripping her apart, Petty Officer Grier continued his valiant efforts to free the woman from the tangled cables. He finally succeeded and she floated free, severely injured and unconscious.  He, himself, then became entangled in the mast and rigging of the boat while swimming back to shore with the helpless woman and was forced to release her and struggle to save his own life.  The woman was subsequently picked up by an approaching boat and brought to the pier alive but succumbed to her injuries before reaching hospital facilities.  Petty Officer Grier's outstanding courage, initiative, fortitude and unwavering devotion to duty, while endangering his life during this rescue, reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Coast Guard.

Last Modified 1/12/2016