The Coast Guard is the oldest sea-faring branch (yes, it’s even older than the Navy), and has produced many notable heroes since its inception. In spit of rank or age, these USCG legends have made a serious impact and served their country well.
1.) Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro
“Did they get off?” – These are the famous last words echoed by the only US Coastguardsman to receive a Medal of Honor. Using his boat as a shield to draw fire, Munro organized the evacuation of more than 500 Marines during the Battle of Guadalcanal.
2.) Captain James Estramonte
It seems as though heroism follows Munro’s name. The Captain of US Coast Guard Cutter MUNRO, USCG hero Captain Estramonte and his crew made headlines in June 2019 with their famous drug bust. In an amazing act of bravery, a Coastguardsman in Captain Estramonte’s crew jumped directly onto a submarine carrying 17,000 pounds of cocaine.
3.) Dr. Olivia Hooker
Petty Officer 2nd Class Dr. Olivia Hooker was the first African American woman to be in the Coast Guard. Part of the Women’s Coast Guard Reserves, also known as the SPARS program. She returned to civilian life having earned a good conduct medal and went on to do great things in the field of Psychology.
4.) Nathan Bruckenthal
Petty Officer 3rd Class Bruckenthal, a Damage Controlman, paid the ultimate price for our Country on April 24th, 2004. Serving as part of the Coast Guard Patrol Forces aboard the USS Firebolt, Bruckenthal was killed in the line of duty when the boat he was boarding while performing maritime intercept operations exploded.
5.) William Flores
Seaman Apprentice William Flores was just 18 years old when the ship he was aboard, the USS Blackthorn, collided with a tanker on January 28th, 1980. This brave young man stayed aboard the sinking cutter, giving away his life jacket and aiding the wounded on board. He was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal twenty years after the collision.
These five men and women have displayed extreme valor in the face of uncertainty and hardship. The US Coast Guard has proven to be an extremely underrated branch full of everyday heroes.
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