The Coast Guard Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the education, welfare and morale of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced that its 26th Annual Pacific Area Awards Dinner in tribute to the United States Coast Guard (USCG) will take place on Wednesday, August 3, 2011.
Held for the second consecutive year in San Diego, the gala will honor the bravery and courage of our guardians in the region who enforce maritime law, protect our homeland and preserve the environment. Awards will be presented to recognize specific acts of outstanding heroism, leadership and mission achievement.
The Coast Guard Foundation has supported the USCG in the Pacific Area with more than $100,000 for morale projects and scholarships in 2010. The dinner will raise funds to continue the Foundation’s work to improve the lives and performance of Coast Guard members, their families and Coast Guard Academy cadets.
During the tribute to the Pacific Area Coast Guard, three awards will be presented:
AST2 Thomas Henry will be honored with the Admiral Chester R. Bender Award for Heroism for two harrowing helicopter rescues in 2010. On March 25, 2010, AST2 Henry responded with his crew CG6514 to a distress call of four surfers pulled into a small enclave surrounded by steep cliffs and jagged rocks. He was deployed to hoist all four individually out of the water to safety despite peril and tremendous physical challenge. AST2 Henry is also being honored for a courageous act performed on the evening of July 5, 2010 during a response to a call of four people clinging to a 70-degree cliff, 120-feet above the beach. Deployed for a vertical rescue with blowing debris obscuring his visibility, AST2 Henry realized and communicated mid-rescue that his hoist cable had wrapped around the helicopter’s landing gear. For twenty minutes he hung below the aircraft until he was safely delivered to a runway.
Receiving the Admiral James S. Gracey Award for Professional Excellence, BMC Seth Carter, USCGC BLACKFIN, will be recognized for his leadership. Chief Carter’s commitment to safety and skill are demonstrated in his seasoned ship maneuvering during complicated mooring evolutions and challenging weather search and rescue operations. He supervised the completion of 155 law enforcement boardings in six months, resulting in citations of 126 violations and 26 vessel terminations, and was vital in the planning and execution of 16 search and rescue cases resulting in 31 lives saved and assisted. Chief Carter’s expertise has been critical in the issuing of boating-under-the-influence citations as well as identifying vessels carrying illegal workers. He has also been active in career counseling and ensuring his crew’s dedication to professional development. Chief Carter provides support to the cutter’s Partnership in Education program enabling BLACKFIN to positively impact underprivileged children.
The Admiral John B. Hayes Award for Unit Excellence will be presented to Marine Safety Detachment Unit American Samoa for its exceptional gains in maritime safety, security and stewardship in the South Pacific. These include stopping vessels in U.S. waters engaged in environmental pollution activities, and identifying vessels that do not meet safety regulations and those that are drug trafficking. The unit also planned the successful removal of over 65,000 gallons of aviation gas from a sunken tanker, led storm preparations ahead of the landfall of a cyclone, and provided training to increase the competency of unlicensed fishing vessels to reduce accident rates.