Coast Guard Crew to Receive High National Honors for Rescuing Trapped Firefighters

    A flight crew with Coast Guard Air Station Humboldt Bay will be honored with prestigious national awards Thursday for their role in rescuing two injured firefighters trapped on a mountainside being engulfed in flames during last year’s Middle Fire.

    Lt. Cmdr. Derek Schramel, the aircraft commander, and Petty Officer 1st Class Graham McGinnis, a rescue swimmer, will be presented with Distinguished Flying Cross Awards while Lt. j. g. Adam Ownbey, the co-pilot, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Tyler Cook, the flight mechanic, will receive Air Medals, according to a news release.

    The public is invited to observe the ceremony scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on the Sector Humboldt Bay Facebook page.

    “Battling bouts of vertigo, fire updrafts, and night vision device blinding, the crew established a prolonged precision hover above a narrow 20-by-30 foot hoisting area, surrounded by towering trees with wildfire flanking the zone on three sides,” the release states. “The firefighters were hoisted expeditiously despite the crew having to overcome fatigue and choking smoke that filled the helicopter cabin. The firefighters were successfully rescued and delivered to advanced medical care, saving their lives.”

    Read more on this story at North Coast News
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