This Day in U.S. Coast Guard History – December 17
1897-The Overland Expedition, consisting of three officers from the Revenue Cutter Service, departed from the cutter Bear off Nunivak Island to rescue 300 whalers trapped in the ice at Point Barrow, Alaska. The rescuers were First Lieutenant D. H. Jarvis, Second Lieutenant E. P. Bertholf (later a commandant), and Surgeon S. J. Call. The rescuers had to travel over 1,000 miles overland to reach the whalers.
1903-Life-Saving Service personnel from Kill Devil Hills Life-Saving Station helped carry materials to the launch site for the first successful heavier-than-air aircraft flight by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and then assisted the brothers in their flights that day. The life-savers were John T. Daniels, W.S. Dough and A.D. Etheridge.
1942-CGC Natsek, part of the Greenland Patrol, disappeared in Belle Isle Strait. There were no survivors. It was thought that she capsized due to severe icing.
1942-The Navy credited the CGC Ingham with attacking and sinking the submerged U-boat U-626 south of Greenland.
1951-President Harry Truman presented the Collier Trophy to the Coast Guard, the Department of Defense and the "helicopter industry" in a joint award, citing "outstanding development and use of rotary-winged aircraft for air rescue operations." Coast Guard Commandant VADM Merlin O'Neill accepted the trophy for the Coast Guard.
(Source: USCG Historian’s Office)